EAST MOLINE – City officials could vote to allow legal adult-use cannabis businesses to potentially operate in East Moline as early as Monday night.
The city’s plan and zoning commission met for about 20 minutes Thursday night with not much public comment on proposed regulations for allowing recreational marijuana businesses to operate in specific locations within the city.
East Moline taking up local laws in regards to pot businesses comes as both the city of Rock Island and Rock Island County have approved businesses to operate in designated zoning in their jurisdictions. Each municipality also passed a local tax on the sale of pot.
Meanwhile, Moline is accepting applications for potential businesses and will review each one on a case-by-case basis. The Village of Coal Valley intends to not allow sales within city limits and is drafting an ordinance for that intent.
According to a draft of a potential city ordinance for East Moline, any pot business that wants to open in the city, if East Moline were to allow them, would need a special use permit. Each of the possible businesses that would be allowed in – craft growers, cultivation centers, retail stores, infusers, processers and transportation companies – is defined and has laid out rules for each one.
Under the proposal, potential businesses would not be allowed “within 750 feet of the property line of a pre-existing public or private nursery school, preschool, primary or secondary school, daycare center, daycare home or residential care home. Learning centers and vocational/trade centers shall not be classified as a public or private school” for the ordinance, the document states. Also, the “facility may not be located within 250 feet of the property line of a pre-existing property zoned for residential purposes.”
East Moline’s proposed ordinance also lays out how a co-location could work, or if a dispensary sought to operate in the same space as a craft grower or infuser.
City Administrator Doug Maxeiner addressed the commission Thursday night and fielded questions from officials and some members of the public.
He began his comments by saying that East Moline City Council had previously indicated that they did not want to opt out of marijuana businesses, which led to Thursday night’s zoning meeting. Maxeiner also said Thursday the city plans to pursue a 3% local sales tax on marijuana sales.
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A color-coded zoning map was distributed Thursday night, with much of it shaded in blue — meaning no cannabis businesses could operate in those areas. There are four zones the establishments can do business in — two are business designations and the other two are industrial.
Some of those locations include The Bend, parts of the East Moline Industrial Park and much of the Illinois Route 5 corridor from south of FedEx and east from there.
“Whether you agree with this law or not, it’s here,” Maxeiner told the commission. “I believe we have an opportunity to take advantage of this economically” and it could help the city’s budget.
The five commissioners present voted unanimously in support of the measure, which now advances for a first reading at Monday night’s council meeting. Maxeiner said if there is support from council Monday night, the matter could go to a second reading and final vote at the same meeting.
The idea behind that move is to get the process moving forward as a limited number of licenses have been made available so far in the first two rounds of state applications.
“There’s a thought that the sooner you get your application in, the more favorable it will be,” Maxeiner said Thursday night. “We’ve been contacted by several companies. It’s been over the last three months. Various levels of sophistication … some of them already have their business plans put together, have their financing put together and know how they would score on their application.”
And while East Moline’s proposed ordinance lays out how other cannabis businesses could operate in the city, the city administrator said the city is hoping for a dispensary.
“We would like to see some of the sales tax revenue from this, obviously. Make it an economic driver for us.”