PEORIA, Ill.– City Leaders have a lot of information to digest from Tuesday’s council meeting.

Council discussed possible regulations of adult-use cannabis in Peoria.

The first reading of an ordinance amending the unified development code relating to adult-use cannabis was approved.

This item covered the zoning of marijuana businesses throughout the city of Peoria, meaning they’re deciding where cultivation centers, dispensaries, processors and infusers can open.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act allow local units of governments to establish a minimum distance between areas the city deems “sensitive” such as daycares and schools. The ordinance creates a minimum distance location of 500 feet between any cannabis-based business and schools.

Councilwoman Denise Moore brought into question if there’s a specified distance these shops have to be from worship centers.

The first reading of the item concerning business licenses and miscellaneous regulations was also approved. Only dispensaries with valid licenses can sell marijuana-related products to the public. Craft growers and cultivation centers are allowed to sell to those specific retailers.

Currently, there are only three recreational marijuana licenses available in the five-county area during the first wave in spring 2020. Chrissie Peterson, senior attorney for the city of Peoria, said this number could change sometime next year depending on how much the market can take in and how fast cultivation centers can send supply.

There is already one adult-use cannabis store that sells medical marijuana in Peoria. This is not included in the three licenses they could be made available next year.

Councilmembers also discussed fines in regards to licensing violations.

Councilman Chuck Grayeb feverently disagrees with the $1,000 fine that is in place; he said it’s ludicrous.

“I would be opposed to putting a straight jacket of $1,000 on what could be very serious infractions,” Grayeb said.

Others, agreed with him saying that the fine is way too low.

“The thousand dollars really does not sound like a harsh enough penalty when we’re talking about if something really goes awry,” Councilman Sid Ruckriegel said.

“If they’re in violation of things yes, let’s have a lot more discretion on the up-side,” Councilman John Kelly said.

Council also addressed neighborhood and financial concerns. Leaders said Peoria will gain additional funding from licensing fees and additional sales tax revenue from the sale of cannabis.

In January, the law will also allow local units of government to authorize the on-site consumption of cannabis. Council’s ordinance does not address the matter, but reserves a place in the code should the council wish to address the issue at a later date.

The state law prohibits the use of cannabis in the following instances:
* Any public place, such as streets or parks
* Any motor vehicle
* On school grounds (except medical users)
* Near someone under the age of 21
* Near an on-duty school bus driver, police officer, firefighter or corrections officer
* On private property at the discretion of any person, business or landlord

Starting Jan.1, 2020 city leaders will cancel an ordinance pertaining to possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.

Previous law fine people convicted carrying less than 10 grams of cannabis, but under the new state law, adults over 21 will be able to possess over 30 grams without penalty if they are an Illinois resident. Non-residents can possess up to 15 grams.

In other council news, a craft studio and bar is coming to Peoria.

Tonight city leaders approved a request to redevelop a building on Southwest Adams Street. The startup would be located next to Rambler downtown.

The plan is to offer 20 unique projects with tools, materials, and instructions to create hand-crafted items. While working, customers will also be able to grab an adult beverage.