URBANA — As various communities and unincorporated areas begin to approve plans for the sale of recreational marijuana next year, Champaign County’s government is making its own plan — for taking a cut of the income.
On Tuesday night, County Executive Darlene Kloeppel presented the county board’s committee of the whole with a sample ordinance for a County Cannabis Retailers Occupation Tax.
Kloeppel said the proposal was drawn up by attorneys from the United Counties Council of Illinois, a statewide organization of county boards.
Deputy Director of Finance Tami Ogden said that counties are authorized to impose a tax of up to 3 percent on sales in incorporated areas and 3.75 percent in unincorporated areas.
And those maximum rates are exactly what the county board committee decided to recommend seeking.
The proposed ordinance is being forwarded to the full board for final approval at its Sept. 19 meeting.
“It is a little, small tax,” said county board Chairman Giraldo Rosales.
The retail tax may be placed on the gross receipts from sales of recreational cannabis. Medical marijuana is exempt.
Of course, local municipalities must first approve the sale of recreational marijuana within their limits if the county is to see any income from taxing sales there come Jan. 1.
“I don’t think the rural districts want it,” Rosales said. “Either way, whenever they decide to allow the sales, this ordinance will be there to tax this amount of money.”
Rosales said he has no idea what the county will use cannabis tax money on.
“We just don’t know what the figures will be,” he said. “We have a capital improvement plan on facilities. We have a strategic plan. And our information technology equipment is 30 years old. Heaven knows how much updating that equipment will be. There are plenty of ideas on what to spend it on.”
Rosales said he anticipates a variety of people getting involved in the marijuana industry in Champaign County some day.
“I think some farmers are interested in growing it,” he said. “There will be people producing, selling, manufacturing and packaging various products.”