Rock Island is going to pot! And it’s doing it intentionally.
That is to say, city leaders are being proactive about the drug becoming legal in Illinois on January 1.
Rock Island is embracing the industry rather than banning the businesses.
Local governments can opt out of the law to prohibit sales. Not Rock Island.
City council is moving forward on plans for the different kinds of businesses that could be licensed under Rock Island’s jurisdiction.
These are craft growers, growing centers, processing centers, retail stores and marijuana cafes.
Some key decisions city council must make regarding marijuana are taking shape, specifically where these businesses will be allowed to operate.
Those zoning guidelines in the city’s cannabis ordinance cleared the planning commission this week.
Here’s that breakdown:
- Craft growing and cultivation centers would be restricted to agricultural and industrial zones.
- Packaged product dispensing businesses could operate in industrial and business districts. The same goes for on-site consumption dispensaries except neighborhood business districts.
- Infusing businesses would be limited to industrial districts. However, the planning commission wants to allow those in community business districts as well.
- All cannabis establishments must be at least 100 feet away from any residential zoning.
- All such businesses must also have adequate security and lighting.
The proposal now heads to Rock Island City Council.
How much to charge for licenses and whether to limit the number of businesses could still be addressed by the city.
One such cultivation center is expanding in Rock Island.
That’s Green Thumb Industries.
The facility already has about 100 employees and was still hiring over the summer.
It held a job fair in August to fill 20 jobs.
City leaders say it’s making a $17 million investment and that some of its jobs are being moved from Chicago to Rock Island.
That’s 87 days from now when you’ll be able to buy recreational marijuana legally in Illinois.
Rock Island seems to be moving faster than either Moline and East Moline to try to capitalize on it.
Excuse the pun, but helping blaze that trail for the city is Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms.
He joined for 4 The Record for a conversation.
Bettendorf’s big thing has been the TBK Bank Sports Complex.
Mayor Bob Gallagher has called it a game changer for his city.
Thoms discussed how much of an opportunity marijuana can be for Rock Island, why the city is embracing it so quickly and if legal marijuana will be a game changer for Rock Island.
Thoms also talked about if the possibility that Rock Island gets a reputation for being the pot capital of the Quad Cities worries him at all and what direction he thinks the city is going in terms of limits on this businesses.
These are cash businesses that at the moment aren’t able to work with banks.
They can be robbery targets. There are security requirements for the businesses.
Thoms addressed what other plans the city needs to make concerning the criminal element.
Watch the entire conversation in the video above.
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