Recreational marijuana sales are set to begin next year, and some of the potential store locations getting scouted suggest Illinoisans aren’t the only customers cannabis companies hope to attract.
Amid the debate over proposed zoning rules that would ban weed sales in much of Chicago’s downtown, cannabis companies also are eyeing sites far beyond city limits. Illinois border towns say they’re fielding calls from operators in search of sites that would make it easy for customers to cross into their communities to shop, bringing tax dollars with them. None of the neighboring states have legalized recreational marijuana.
One company already has received the go-ahead. South Beloit, Ill., approved plans Tuesday for a store operated by Chicago-based Cresco Labs to open just off Interstate 90, less than a mile from the Wisconsin border.
“It’s the perfect site,” said South Beloit Mayor Ted Rehl. “Location, location, location.”
Illinois’ new marijuana law allows municipalities to ban recreational marijuana sales, and many are grappling with whether the tax revenue from weed sales will outweigh the potential downsides. But with the start of legal sales fast approaching on Jan. 1, there’s an incentive for towns — particularly along the border — to decide quickly. [Read more at The Chicago Tribune]