Pekin City Council OKs Recreational Cannabis Businesses

Nov 26, 2019

The Pekin City Council approved zoning provisions for recreational cannabis businesses at its meeting Monday.

The council voted 4 to 1 to approve marijuana businesses, with two members abstaining. Michael Garrison was one of them. He says the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug.

"If marijuana was legal, I would vote for this. But since it is federally illegal, the exercise that the state of Illinois has pursued here is an illegal act. Period," he said. 

The ordinance requires any cannabis business to be at least 100 feet away from schools, places of worship, and daycares. Each business would have to apply for a special use permit. The businesses would be alllowed only in certain business or industrial districts. 

"I think the zoning is very specific. Very protective of the community. I'm not sure that there's anything else that we could have put in that," said Mark Luft.

He noted the decision came only after months of research and deliberation among the city council, staff, and the community. 4,223 people responded to a survey included with city wastewater bills. Luft noted that's more people than those who voted in the last election. Another 407 voted online. 

The council also brought its city code up into compliance with current state law on medical and recreational cannabis possession and use. 

Councilman John Abel voted against both. Garrison abstained from both. Councilwoman Karen Hohimer voted against the code update, and abstained from zoning. 

It's unlikely Pekin would see any recreational cannabis businesses until 2021, at the earliest.