The recent legalization of recreational marijuana was on the table during Tuesday night’s Adams County Board Meeting.
Board members discussed whether or not the county would opt-out of the legalization program.
Just to clarify, the county can-not opt out of legal cannabis because it’s legal in Illinois starting January 1, whether the county agrees with it or not.
However, the county can opt-out of allowing recreational dispensaries within the county. Nothing was decided on that issue at the meeting, but Finance Committee chairman Bret Austin says if the county did not take part in the new program, they would be losing out on money.
“If this is the state and it has legalized it and it is the will of the people and the will of the voters, then why put ourselves in a financial disadvantage,” said Austin. “I would like to see us move forward with it.”
Austin says the board should make a final decision on that issue within the next couple months. They have to make a decision by the end of the year.
As far as taxation goes, the state statute allows 3.75 percent sales tax maximum on cannabis sales in unincorporated areas within the county.
Inside the City of Quincy, the split becomes 3 percent to the city and .75 to the county for sales within city limits. Austin says they will most likely tax the maximum.
“There are a lot of people who think of this as being some windfall to the city or the county,” said Austin. ‘When you really start to chop it down and look at the percentage and what the sales are going to be over the first few years it might mean $70,000 or $80,000 to the county. It might mean a couple hundred thousand dollars to the city.”
For the first couple of years, Austin says he doesn’t think legal marijuana is going to be a huge money maker for the county, considering the fact supply and demand is going to be a big issue. Austin doesn’t think there’s going to be enough supply to go around therefore limiting how much money the county is able to make on taxation.