County board approves cannabis retailers tax

The Carroll County Board has adopted an ordinance establishing a County Cannabis Retailers Occupation Tax. The ordinance passed with one dissenting vote during the Sept. 19 meeting.

On Jan. 25, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, making Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis.

Adults 21 and over will be able to purchase, possess and consume cannabis in Illinois beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The bill allows counties and municipalities to collect sales tax on the sale of recreational cannabis products.

Board Chair Kevin Reibel said the issue needed to be addressed before Oct. 1, in order for the tax to be collected during FY 2020.

“Counties and municipalities all over the state are passing this ordinance to keep ahead of what needs to take place before the end of this month,” Reibel said. “If we don’t act now we would have to wait a full year before we could begin to impose and collect the tax.”

County Administrator Mike Doty said the ordinance places two taxes on the sale of cannabis in Carroll County and explained that as of Jan. 1, 2020 the tax will be imposed on all persons engaged in the business of selling cannabis, other than cannabis purchased under the Compassionate Use Of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, at retail locations throughout the county at the rate of 3.75% of gross receipts from sales made in unincorporated areas of Carroll County and at the rate of 3% of gross receipts from sales made in a municipality located in Carroll County.

“We are working on this now just in case a business will come in,” said Doty. “I believe Jo Daviess, Whiteside, and Stephenson Counties have all done the maximum and I think Lee County is doing it this week also. Several municipalities have been working on it as well.”

He said the board’s biggest reason for imposing the tax is to offset costs related to the distribution and use of cannabis.

“Anyone that is arrested for partaking too much will likely end up downstairs in the county jail,” Doty said. “So, we will have potential costs if we have that type of activity here. That’s not to say we don’t already have that type of activity here, but this stream of revenue would help cover the costs of that type of activity.”

Following approval of the ordinance Carroll County GIS and Zoning Department Coordinator Jeremy Hughes asked the board for direction on zoning regulations that will dictate the location of potential cannabis related facilities.

He was assured the issue will be addressed by the board in the near future.

In other business, the board heard budget requests from nine County departments, the most notable being a request for funding for a dental clinic from the Health Department.

That proposal will be addressed as the budget is finalized.

The next scheduled County Board meeting is Oct. 3, at 9:30 a.m. in the Small Courtroom, County Courthouse.