Evanston aldermen Monday night gave final approval to a 6 percent tax on the cultivation of medical cannabis and introduced an ordinance that would lease a storefront in the city’s Maple Avenue garage for a marijuana dispensary.

Both measures were approved on the council’s consent agenda.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, asked city staff whether the city might incur any liability if the state’s test of the medical marijuana program isn’t extended beyond its currently scheduled termination date at the end of 2017.

Paul Zalmezak of the city’s economic development staff replied that the lease is scheduled to terminate at the same time as the end of the medical marijuana program and that Pharmacann LLC, the winner of the state license to operate a dispensary in this area, will be required under the lease to pay for all improvements to the storefront.

State Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie has filed legislation that would extend the experimental program to four years beyond the date when the first dispensary actually opens — arguing that delays in setting up the program, have made it impossible to give it a full test before the end of 2017.

But Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he opposes any extension until after the existing program has been fully evaluated.

The council is expected to give final approval to the lease of the storefront at 1804 Maple Ave. at its next meeting on April 27.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Taxpayer liability ?

    Since the Council has supported, if not been landlord, to so many liquor establishments and now is 'supporting' [if not more] Pot shops, is the City and really taxpayers protected against liability ?  When a NU student had an alcohol related car accident on a public street some years ago, the City came down hard on NU.  If a city supported [landlord, alderman requested, Council voted for, etc. liquor establishment] serves liquor to someone who then has an accident or commits a crime or pot is sold, even to a 'legal' customer [let alone someone not approved] and they re-sell it, are the City and ultimately taxpayers going to be held legally responsible ?

  2. What to do with the money ?

    As of January 2015 banks in 23 states won't take the money generated by marijuana sales or process check/credit/debit transactions from the stores.

    What will they do with the money ?  Many businesses have high cash transactions but they have armord cars or other means to transport the money. Marijuana may be able to get someone to transport their money but to where ?  If it is known that they keep a high amount of cash on hand, you would think robbers would also know that.


    On another issue, if the city really believes the customers are using it for valid medical needs, you would think there would be low taxes on it—no more than for other medicines. Does the city not believe the 'medical use' story or see it as a cash cow ?

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *