The Lake County Board took new steps toward allowing adult-use cannabis businesses in unincorporated Lake County, which could include several areas that border Hawthorn Woods. On Feb. 9, the board voted unanimously to begin the formal process of considering zoning regulations that would allow adult-use cannabis businesses within unincorporated Lake County, with certain restrictions. The vote reverses a prior moratorium on cannabis businesses, which was about to expire.
Nearby unincorporated areas that could potentially be impacted include Diamond Lake, Aptakisic, Gilmer, Fremont Center, and Sylvan Lake. For a complete list of all unincorporated areas in Lake County, click here.
A public hearing date will be announced soon, according to Arin Thrower, Lake County Chief Communications Officer.
“I would like to thank the County Board and staff for taking the time to research and gather information on the adult-use cannabis topic, including lessons learned since Illinois’ new law took effect,” said Lake County Public Works, Planning, and Transportation Committee Chair Bill Durkin.
“We’re now ready to move forward with the process for unincorporated Lake County and we look forward to hearing the public’s input on the proposed regulations in the coming weeks,” said Durkin.
While adult-use of cannabis has been legal in Illinois since Jan. 1, 2020, business establishments are currently prohibited to operate in unincorporated Lake County.
Under Illinois law, Lake County government has the option to establish regulations to allow the production and sale of recreational cannabis in the unincorporated areas or to ban recreational cannabis businesses.
Last February, the County Board chose to formally delay its decision until February 2021, to allow time to research health and law enforcement impacts and revenue implications of adult-use cannabis legalization.
In October 2019, the County Board approved an ordinance adopting a state-authorized tax for adult-use dispensary sales in municipalities.
If the Lake County Board ultimately approves adult-use cannabis business zoning regulations, the ordinance will also be applicable to unincorporated dispensary sales.
The unanimous vote followed a series of meetings that began after the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019.
Lake County initiated a countywide task force that was attended by representatives from many local municipalities to study and analyze the new law.