As the marijuana issue continues for discussion there will be many things to consider. In DeKalb County, there will probably be one or two licenses issued due to the size of the population and economic standing within the communities in the county.
Sycamore is evaluating the issue even with Mayor Curt Lang
DeKalb may have the lead on having a recreational marijuana dispensary as they fall in the guidelines set forth by the new state. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (Illinois House Bill 1438) is an act of the Illinois legislature legalizing and regulating production, consumption, and sale of cannabis. Illinois’ new Cannabis and Regulation and Tax Act also will give preference to people who live in “disproportionately impacted areas.” Part of the act defines areas within the state as places that can be positively affected by the future sales of marijuana, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Select people and organizations from these identified areas, so-called “social equity applicants” will get the first consideration. There are several such areas in DeKalb, one by the northwest side of the city near the NIU campus, one in the downtown area and the other on the south side of the city bordering Illinois Route 23.
The northwest side of DeKalb has been identified as low income. The problem with this location is the area not being accessible for visibility for consumers and the close proximity to the NIU campus. Mayor Jerry Smith and DeKalb City staff are meeting with university officials to discuss the impact on college life. One issue still under consideration is no recreational marijuana dispensary should be close to or adjacent to schools. This entire area is laced with elementary, Middle and High Schools as well as the university being defined as a school. The effectiveness of being near the NIU campus will not be that big of revenue with the recent loss of 10,000 students and the high number of commuter students.
The Mayor and other business owners do not want to see a recreational marijuana dispensary in the downtown area. With a major facelift happening in the downtown area a ‘pot shop’ would not be a positive reflection of the new downtown region. First, there is such a small area (1st to 4th Streets) to place a shop, second the parking options and thirdly, the high-security requirements for any recreational marijuana dispensary location.
The southernmost area of the city lacks commer
There will be 75 permits available on January 1, 2020. There will be 45 licenses available in the Chicago and western suburb region, of which DeKalb County is a part of this area.
The City of DeKalb and the DeKalb County Board have both tentatively assessed a 3% + additional tax if a medical or recreational marijuana dispensary is located in the city or county.
The City of Sandwich is also in this area (DeKalb Couty) and is still reviewing what may happen in the future.
According to one local real estate agent (asked not to be named), there are a couple of companies looking at locations on DeKalb Avenue (north Illinois Route 23) in high traffic areas as well as in the southern area of Sycamore, again near IL. 23.
The new Illinois Cannabis and Regulation and Tax Act make possession and use of marijuana legal for adults over 21 on January 1st, 2020.