The sale of recreational marijuana is not legal in Naperville, but city council members took action Tuesday during a virtual meeting to ensure a local sales tax will be ready to be collected if sales later are approved.
A 6-3 vote among council members put an ordinance on the books to set the tax at 3%, the maximum allowed under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.
The next step for the tax to be charged as soon as July 1 is to file the ordinance with the Illinois Department of Revenue by a May 1 deadline.
Council members discussed taxation after the results of a nonbinding referendum on March 17, in which 53.25% of voters said they want the city to allow recreational marijuana sales. In order for sales to get the green light, the city council would have to take later action to set zoning rules for stores, after review by the planning and zoning commission.
The council on Tuesday passed the taxation ordinance without debate among members, with Kevin Coyne, Patty Gustin and Paul Hinterlong voting against it.
Before the vote, the council heard from two people opposed to the tax and one supportive of it, as staff members read aloud the comments they had submitted in advance via an online speaker signup system.
The council also heard the names of three residents opposed to the tax and seven in favor of it, who also took sides via the online system.
In his submitted comments, George Hardwidge said the tax is not worth hazards such as drugged driving that could arise.
“Certainly a 3% tax will not offset the damage done to our community by selling marijuana,” Hardwidge said.
But in her submitted comments, Erika DeCarlo said it would be better to have regulated sales in Naperville than to make residents shop elsewhere or buy marijuana through unregulated dealers.
“Either way, Naperville residents will obtain and use cannabis,” DeCarlo said. “Why not derive some benefit?”
The city did not provide an estimate of how much money the 3% tax could generate in a memo about the proposal. Estimates provided by groups advocating on opposite sides of the issue before the referendum ranged from $133,000 to $500,000 per store.