No, we’re not blowing smoke. It’s true. On August 11th, Evanston City Council voted to agree to lease City-owned property at 1800 Maple Avenue to a medical marijuana dispensary. But don’t call your doctor for an appointment.
There’s a catch: Medical marijuana is not legal in the state of Illinois. Yet. Given the state law’s requirements and limitations, there’s no telling if/when the law will pass and a license will be granted. The firm that will operate the dispensary will be selected by the state later this year, after an open application process in the fall. And now, Evanston will be ready with this accessible location in the 2nd Ward.
According to a recent article in the Evanston RoundTable, Johanna Nyden of the City’s Economic Development department said that a tax of 4% could bring in anywhere from $30,000 to $200,000 annually. She explained that wide range is due to the uncertainty of something completely new and untried to Illinois. But if other states are any indication, revenue could exceed many expectations.
“If someone is going to open it up, why not us?” said Alderman Mark Tendam of the 6th Ward. “If there’s money to be made...it’s a good revenue source for the city.”
Depending on legislation at the state level, Evanston’s first and only medical marijuana dispensary could open as soon spring of 2015.
How SEA sees it
If managed and supervised properly according to state mandates, this dispensary could be a valid and viable source of revenue for Evanston. Why let those potential taxes go up in smoke?