DANVILLE — With recreational marijuana becoming legal in about two months and state estimates projecting $500,000 in potential revenue for Vermilion County governments, the county board is set to vote on establishing a tax on sales to ensure its cut.
On Thursday, the county board’s executive and legislation committee recommended a tax at the maximum rate allowed by state statute — 3.75 percent in unincorporated areas of the county and 3 percent in incorporated areas.
Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. has received revenue estimates of $425,000 for the city if a dispensary opens within Danville, and county board Chairman Larry Baughn said another $75,000 would flow to county coffers, according to projections received from state officials.
Vermilion County officials will take every penny, as they are looking at a deficit spending plan for next year with expenses outpacing revenues by $650,000 so far.
The county board will vote on its spending plan for next year; its property-tax levy, which is only slightly higher; and the marijuana sales tax at its Nov. 12 meeting.
In September, the Champaign County Board approved a recreational-cannabis tax at the same rates — 3 percent in incorporated areas, 3.75 percent elsewhere.
By May 20, the state will award 75 licenses to sell recreational marijuana. One will be available in an area covering Champaign, Piatt and Ford counties, and one will be available in Vermilion County, which does not already have a medical-marijuana dispensary. Champaign County is home to two: Phoenix Botanical in Champaign and NuMed in Urbana.
On Oct. 17, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that Phoenix Botanical was one of six medical-cannabis dispensaries that were granted “same site” recreational-cannabis licenses allowing them to sell recreational cannabis starting Jan. 1. The new law also allows medical-cannabis dispensaries to open a second site for recreational sales at a different location.
It’s not yet clear where a recreational-use dispensary might locate in Vermilion County, but there’s been interest in at least one site in Danville on Lynch Road near Interstate 74, less than a mile from the Indiana state line. Indiana has not legalized recreational-marijuana sales or use.
In September, Danville aldermen voted in favor of allowing a recreational-cannabis dispensary and applying a 3 percent tax to sales. That would be in addition to the county’s 3 percent tax.
If a dispensary chooses to locate in an unincorporated area of Vermilion County, only the county’s 3.75 percent tax would apply.