Bridgeview OKs marijuana tax

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Bridgeview OKs marijuana tax

No vendors yet, but tax in place in case

By Steve Metsch

No one has submitted proposals to open a business selling recreational marijuana in Bridgeview, but the village board is prepared if it happens.

By a 6-0 vote, trustees at their Sept. 18 meeting approved setting up a cannabis retailers’ occupation tax.

That action was needed by a Sept. 30 deadline so the state can set up the taxing system. Recreational sales become legal Jan. 1 statewide.

A tax would be imposed on those selling marijuana, other than that used for medical reasons, at the rate of 3.5 percent of the gross receipts.

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“Would we reap any rewards from this tax? Or does it all goes to the state?” Trustee James Cecott asked.

Assured by village attorney Louis Cainkar that the village would get its share of taxes, Cecott was pleased. “Good,” he said.

Trustee Claudette Struzik said she had no problems with the idea of recreational sales: “If you don’t do it, the next suburb does. It’s legal.”

Mayor Steve Landek said no one had yet come forward to propose a store in Bridgeview, but the village needs the tax in place in case someone does.

Police Chief Ricardo Mancha is curious as to how driving under the influence of marijuana will be determined.

“It’s going to be very interesting next year with the legalization and everything,” he said. “I think, here and there, you’ll smell it.”

He noted that as a police officer in Chicago, when he encountered people who wanted to fight, “out of 100 or so, 99 were drinkers and alcohol-related.”

“I’ve never had (a fight) with a guy who’s had marijuana. They just want Twinkies,” Mancha said. “I won’t say they’re more rational. Maybe mellow. The emotions don’t run as high, where with alcohol you go from zero to 60 in a minute.”

In other action, the board also unanimously approved changes in the zoning code related to multiple family dwelling units.

Construction of multi-family rental dwelling units would be prohibited in the R-3 and R-4 multifamily residence districts. It would also regulate the rental of condominium units in those areas.

The board unanimously approved the hiring of Mark Zajac as a full-time police officer. Zajac had been a part-time officer.

“It’s going to help (with staffing),” Mancha said. “He’s been a part-timer for a year, year and a half. Long as he continues what he’s been doing, we’ll be great.”

And, the board approved zoning variations for eight three-bedroom townhomes that will be built at 7235 W. 71st St.

Trustee Norma Pinion thanked everyone who helped make a success the village’s 24th annual Treasure Days, held on Sept. 7-8 and Sept. 14-15. The village-wide garage sale saw 400 to 500 participants, she said.

“Everyone met us with smiles and laughter. It was very pleasant out there,” Pinion said.

— Desplaines Valley News

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Steve Metsch

Steve Metsch is an award winning veteran reporter who previously worked for the Daily Southtown Newspapers, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. Metsch is a writer and editor at the Southwest News Newspaper group based in suburban Chicago, and a freelance writer for a financial newsletter, a health magazine and the Naperville Sun.
Email Steve Metsch at sm4610@sbcglobal.net
Steve Metsch

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