URBANA — The sticky question of how Champaign County will regulate marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas will be left hanging for a while longer.
The county board’s environment and land use committee voted Thursday to pass along two different zoning-amendment options to the zoning board of appeals for public hearing, without recommending either of them.
One of the options on its way to the zoning board would allow marijuana businesses such as dispensaries, craft growers, cultivation centers, transporters and processors only within a mile and a half of home-rule cities with populations over 20,000. That would apply only to Champaign and Urbana, which have already opened their doors to marijuana businesses.
Under this option, marijuana businesses setting up shop in the 1.5-mile fringe area would be subject to the same restrictions imposed by the two cities.
The other option would widen the field for transporters, cultivation centers and craft growers to areas zoned as AG-1 — as long as there is a 1.5-mile buffer between them and any municipality that has banned sales of recreational marijuana or any residential district.
Committee Chairman Aaron Esry said he could support the option limiting marijuana businesses to the 1.5 miles around Champaign-Urbana.
There’s a demand for marijuana, and people are using it now, he said, and the county isn’t going to turn it back.
County board member Jim Goss also supported that option, saying he’s concerned about the potential for marijuana over-production.
Board member Connie Dillard-Myers said she doesn’t want to limit farmers and craft growers from growing a legal product in Illinois.
“I don’t think Champaign County should turn its nose up at any business,” she said.