Rock Island preparing for cannabis legalization

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - The city of Rock Island is getting ready for recreational marijuana to become legal in Illinois on January 1st, with city leaders talking about how it will be taxed. There will be a 3% sales tax on all cannabis sales. The city doesn't know how popular this new business will be, but they're looking forward to an extra boost for their community.

Rock Island Mayor Thoms prepares for cannabis legalization in Illinois.

"Anytime you can get new business is great," said Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms.

Rock Island is one of the cities in Illinois that may get a cannabis dispensary. They're preparing by looking at zoning and where the dispensary would go, "our intentions at this point are not to have any dispensaries located in residential areas. They'd be more in retail, commercial or industrial sites," said Thoms.

While Illinois legalized cannabis, individual cities can impose their own regulations, like hours: "you want to make it convenient for a business to succeed. So we'll have to talk to whoever comes forth with looking for a license in rock island and whether it's 7 am to 8 pm, I'd imagine somewhere in those hours," explained Thoms.

Rock Island can also set the sales tax, which has been decided at a maximum of 3%. Thoms continued, "I have no idea what the projected sales are gonna look like but it'll definitely be some extra new revenue. Like a lot of new things, it could spike to the top- the newness of it, the experimental or whatever. You'd see a lot of volume and it could then taper off from there."

Mayor Thoms expects this new business wouldn't attract just one crowd, "It's not just the young generation that's using marijuana. For medical reasons, there's the older people that are having issues. It might be worthwhile. I think it's cross-generational, I think it's cross income-wise too so it's interesting to see who does and who does not."

Mayor Thoms recognizes Rock Island may not get a dispensary, and at this point, the closest one that's guaranteed is Nature's Treatment in Milan.

The Mayor added that applications cost $8,000 and are due in October. If Rock Island does get a dispensary, it would happen next summer.