News Local/State

Urbana Officials Seek Public Input On Sale and Taxing Of Recreational Cannabis


Pixabay/TinaKru (CC0)

Urbana city officials want to hear what residents think about the sale and taxing of recreational cannabis.

Mayor Diane Marlin said the City Council will soon discuss and vote on whether to impose a tax of up to 3 percent on recreational cannabis sales when it becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, 2020.

Prior to those City Council meetings on Aug. 26 and Sept. 3, Marlin said she wants to hear what residents think about the sales tax and related issues.

“We will be listening to what people have to say, their opinions, questions, concerns,” Marlin said. “And then over the coming months, as we develop policies and look at changes in ordinances, we’ll take that input into account.”

The listening session on this topic will be held at the City Council meeting 7 p.m. tonight at the City Council Chambers on Vine Street in Urbana.

Marlin said she supports the sales tax because it could generate several hundred thousand dollars a year in much-needed revenue for the city.

The city is about halfway through eliminating a $2.5 million budget deficit, she said.

“We’ve made a number of significant spending reductions over the past few years,” Marlin said. “We’ve reorganized departments, we’ve made operations more efficient in some areas. We’re looking ahead to fiscal year 2021, the gap we need to cover in that year is close to $800,000.”

Marlin said there remain many issues to consider regarding how the city of Urbana will implement cannabis sales, including possible zoning changes regarding where recreational cannabis can be sold and determining which public spaces people will be prohibited from using marijuana.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman