ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL — Saying it will have no bearing on the opening of the village’s first recreational marijuana dispensary in May, Mayor Craig Johnson announced Tuesday that Elk Grove Village is banning the sale of products containing THC at tobacco and vape shops in the municipality. The ordinance was approved unanimously by the Village Board.
THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis (marijuana) plant, according to the National Institute of Health.
“There is a gray area in state statue when it comes to these products. It’s basically not being regulated,” Johnson said at the Village Board meeting. “We are going to regulate it.”
Johnson said the measure is the first of its kind in the state since recreational marijuana was legalized in Illinois in 2020. It will go into effect starting April 7 with notices immediately being sent out to the 30 licensed tobacco shops in the village. He said the ban involves products that can be ingested, not lotions or creams containing THC.
According to the Village, tobacco establishments that violate the ordinance can be fined up to $500 and their license will face suspension.
The ordinance came as the result of a nine-month investigation by the Elk Grove Village Police Department.
“Last May, residents started coming to our police department, talking about items they were finding with their children [including] gummy bears and delta-8 vape materials,” Johnson said. “We started the investigation and found that some of our establishments were selling these products to children as young as 11 years old.”
Johnson said a 12-year-old student at Grove Junior High School was buying the products and selling them to other students at school. He also said another student “overdosed” on gummy bears containing THC. Deputy Chief Christopher Torres said the police department has received numerous complaints from the school regarding THC products, calling it a “real problem.”
Police Officer Miguel Mosqueda, who has served as a school resource officer at Elk Grove Village High School since last school year, said there has been an uptick in students being found with products containing THC, and those under the influence of it, there as well.
The police investigation led to Luv 2 Smoke, a tobacco shop at 62 Biesterfield Road, being shut down for 30 days in February for selling tobacco and cannabis-related products to minors. Johnson called it the longest suspension of its kind in village history.
“These are children, I’m sorry, 11 and 12 years old. They’re not even teenagers yet,” said Johnson, who hopes other nearby municipalities will follow suit. “Kids are getting high and sick on this. It’s got to stop.”
Last week in nearby Buffalo Grove, the Village Board narrowly approved sending an application by Emerald Earth LLC to the planning and zoning commission to open a second cannabis dispensary in the village. Emerald Earth is proposing to turn a former Bank of America location at 1355 W. Dundee Road into a 7,000-square-foot shop that will sell cannabis and cannabis-related products.
Jeff Wardle, principal of Buffalo Grove High School, said the school is also seeing an uptick in students using products containing marijuana, including vapes, during the current semester. At a March 22 Buffalo Grove Village Board meeting, Wardle and others expressed their opposition to the proposed recreational marijuana dispensary being located less than 1,000 feet from the school.
The new recreational marijuana dispensary in Elk Grove Village will open in May at a strip mall at Higgins Road and Bond Street reports Daily Herald.
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