Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act Zoning Implications

Published June 21, 2019

On May 31, 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (the “Act”).  The Act is expected to be signed into law by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker this month. Among many other things, the Act delineates local government zoning authority as it relates to cannabis businesses.  Units of local governments that have or can implement zoning ordinances (municipalities, counties and qualifying townships) will want to be proactive in making sure they have the cannabis zoning regulations in place that suit the jurisdiction.   

Among the zoning related provisions of the Act, most important is Section 55-25, which allows units of local government the authority to “prohibit or significantly limit” by ordinance the location of cannabis businesses.  This provision authorizes the prohibition of cannabis businesses within zoning districts altogether.  In the alternative, local governments may allow certain types of cannabis businesses in zoning districts while prohibiting or significantly limiting others. 

The authority to significantly limit cannabis businesses as set forth by the Act allows local governments the ability to enact ordinances imposing time, place, manner restrictions on cannabis businesses, as well as rules which can limit cannabis businesses by number.  Any time, place and manner regulations imposed by local governments must be reasonable and may not conflict with other requirements found in the Act.  Local governments may further establish civil penalties for violation of time, place and manner restrictions concerning the operation of cannabis business within the jurisdiction. 

Should a local government decide to allow cannabis business establishments within its boundaries, additional requirements based on the type of cannabis business (i.e., dispensary, cultivation center, processor, etc.) will impact the reasonableness of the zoning requirements.  Please contact your Robbins Schwartz attorney with any questions or concerns regarding the Act’s new zoning implications.