City of Jacksonville Opts In To Recreational Cannabis Sales

By Benjamin Cox on January 14, 2020 at 5:51am

The Jacksonville City Council had only one major decision that did not unanimously pass last night – pot sales. The second reading of the zoning ordinance to allow adult use cannabis to come to Jacksonville passed 8-2, with Second Ward Alderwoman Lori Large Oldenettel and Fifth Ward Alderman Don Cook as the only two ‘no’ votes. The first reading of the ordinance came in December. One alderman changed his vote to ‘yes’ since that time – Ward 1 Alderman Jeff Hopkins. Hopkins said in December that he had received push back from people that he talked to in his ward about not wanting a cannabis facility in the city despite personally being in favor of the idea.

City Attorney Dan Beard says that the zoning ordinance will now allow for a dispensary to come to Jacksonville if one wants to apply. “Tonight, we had the second reading of the ordinance changing the text of our zoning ordinance to allow various cannabis facilities to be located within certain zoning districts within the city. All of these will still be subject to a special use permit, which means that every potential facility will have to come before the Plans Commission and the City Council for approval before they can proceed.”

Ward 4 Alderman Brandon Adams said during committee of the whole session that he had received phone calls or emails from 40 people within his ward specifically asking for the council to pass zoning so that a medical or recreational dispensary would come to the city as well as possibly allowing a cannabis lounge in the near future.

Beard said that the zoning ordinance will not be allowed in residential business districts but will be allowed for the downtown square area and other B-2 and B-3 zoned portions of the city. Beard also said that a growing facility would be for a much larger area but well outside of zoned residential portions of the city. Portions of Jacksonville also fall under the equity application portion of the statewide recreational sales law, which may also possibly attract the cannabis industry to Jacksonville.