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Vote will wait to 2020 on recreational marijuana outside city limits

The La Salle County Board will not make a decision on recreational marijuana businesses until after the new year.

The County Board bought itself some time by approving unanimously a moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses until Friday, Jan. 10.

Recreational marijuana becomes legal Wednesday, Jan. 1, statewide.

The county's Zoning Board of Appeals recommended Nov. 25 the County Board ban recreational businesses outside of cities' limits. The next day, the County Board placed the recommendation on file, but it must wait 30 days before it can act on the recommendation, according to its rules.

Since the 30-day waiting period has not passed, the County Board decided not to allow recreational marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas until after it votes at its Thursday, Jan. 9, meeting. This will not affect a state-approved dispensary in Ottawa or a cultivation center in Oglesby — both of which are in their respective city limits.

The moratorium is not expected to affect any potential business. La Salle County has not received any applications for dispensaries, cultivation centers or any other recreational marijuana businesses, said Brian Gift, director of Environmental Service and Land Use.

The County Board will get the final say on whether recreational marijuana businesses can open in unincorporated areas.

The county will collect 3% in sales tax revenue on any marijuana sales within La Salle County, including those within city limits. The county's 2020 budget includes more than $100,000 in additional sales tax revenue from recreational marijuana.

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