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DANVILLE — City officials received clarification on medical marijuana sales and some aldermen urged the city to encourage the state to change how it’s taxed in Danville.

Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. at Tuesday night’s Danville City Council meeting, via teleconference, said Corp. Counsel Chuck Mockbee and Danville Grants and Planning Manager Logan Cronk had a discussion about medical marijuana sales at the Sunnyside Danville marijuana dispensary with Cresco Labs representatives.

Aldermen brought up questions recently about why there aren’t separate entrances for medical and recreational, adult-use customers, as had been talked about when the council voted last year on the dispensary, and why local medical cannabis customers are paying more in taxes here than in Champaign. Williams said Sunnyside is selling medical and recreational-use marijuana together because it is not designed as a state medical marijuana dispensary.” They are not able to forgive the tax on medical marijuana,” he said, adding those purchasing medical marijuana at the Champaign dispensary do not pay a tax.

“That is a state issue and not anything Sunnyside has done,” he said, adding that Sunnyside officials also desire seeing medical marijuana sold without these taxes involved.Williams said it would take action from the state to make it happen.

A medical card discount is possible to offset some of that expense, and Williams said they’re looking forward to hearing back from Sunnyside if that will happen.

Ward 2 Alderman Dan Duncheon said it’s an additional 20-30 percent tax, which is a big cost difference for medical marijuana users.”It’s a service to our constituents. If you could expedite that or encourage that to happen…,” he added about encouraging the medical sales without the tax. The city’s zoning ordinance states a medicinal/adult-use cannabis dispensing organization is “a facility operated by an organization or business that is licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to acquire cannabis from licensed cannabis business establishments for the purpose of selling or dispensing cannabis, cannabis-infused products, cannabis seeds, paraphernalia or related supplies to purchasers or to qualified registered medical cannabis patients and caregivers, per the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, as they may be amended from time-to-time, and regulations promulgated thereunder.” The Sunnyside Danville cannabis dispensary opened at the end of May. It’s located at 369 Lynch Drive in the former Big Boy restaurant.

The Danville City Council voted 9-2 in November 2019 to approve a special-use permit for a medicinal/adult-use cannabis dispensing organization for that site in the B3-general business zoned district. The council also voted 9-2 to amend the city’s zoning ordinance and map for adult-use and medicinal cannabis. In other business Tuesday, the city council took a straw poll vote supporting an in-person meeting for the Aug. 18 council meeting at city hall. The reason being that Haven Gaming officials will be back with a new casino license application, to submit to the Illinois Gaming Board, for the council to approve.

Williams said Haven will present updates to its application.Williams said the meeting will have to be limited to 50 people due to COVID-19 and Illinois Department of Public Health requirements. The city also plans to live stream the meeting on YouTube to hear it, and public comments can be submitted ahead of time. ”We can social distance,” Williams said, adding that doors will be open so attendees don’t have to touch door handles and air will flow through the downstairs city council chambers, and masks also will be required. Also discussed was having someone take the temperatures of the attendees. In addition, city officials are going to check if aldermen who want to, could attend the meeting electronically.

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