Jacksonville asked to clear way for cannabis dispensary

A zoning request being considered next week could be the first step toward Jacksonville getting a cannabis dispensary retail store.

The city’s Plan Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Municipal Building at 200 W. Douglas Ave. Among the routine agenda items is a review of a petition to rezone property at 1112 Veterans Drive from B4, a business designation, to B4 with special use.

The property between West Morton and Superior avenues is owned by Daniel Kindred of Jacksonville. The application for rezoning, however, was submitted by Kenny Pleasant of Bellevue, Washington.

Pleasant was unavailable for comment Friday, but records from the Washington Secretary of State’s Office show him as registered agent of the company Pleasant Holdings LLC, which was incorporated in 2019.

Adult-use cannabis dispensaries are not new to the state or to west-central Illinois, but most of those in the region are in Springfield, which has six, or Quincy, which has three. The next-closest locations from Jacksonville are Williamsville, about 50 miles to the northeast, and Litchfield, about 70 miles to the southeast.

Recreational marijuana has been legal in the state since Jan. 1, 2020, although it remains strongly regulated and licensed. Buyers must be at least 21 years old.

Many communities, Jacksonville included, took a proactive stance as it started to become clear Illinois would become the 11th state in the nation to legalize cannabis and enacted changes to zoning laws to cover such things as cannabis-related production or entertainment areas.

City Council on Jan. 13, 2020, approved amending its zoning codes in anticipation of any such requests. Among the requirements for dispensaries is that they cannot be within 150 feet of a nursery, school or residential care facility or of a residential property.

It also stipulates that cannabis-related businesses may be required to install enhancements, such as security cameras, lighting or other improvements “to ensure the safety of employees and customers of the adult-use cannabis business establishments, as well as its environs.”

The Plan Commission will make a recommendation to the City Council, which is responsible for a final determination of the application.


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