Columbia preps for green new year

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After advising zoning language changes be drafted for a potential cannabis dispensary last month, Columbia City Council voted Monday night to make changes to city municipal code concerning adult-use cannabis.

The State of Illinois passed the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act in May of this year and it goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

While the zoning language isn’t expected to be ready until February, Columbia’s approved changes to city code Monday night set guidelines for cannabis use within the city.

Highlights of the changes include adding language to refer to CRTA within the code, defining cannabis and regulating usage.

In the amended code, cannabis, once legal, may not be consumed on the premise of a cannabis-related business. Furthermore, no “cannabis lounge” may operate within the city and other consumption in public businesses is prohibited. 

Also, cannabis may not be advertised within 1,000 feet of a school facility, day care, public parks, libraries and public transportation vehicles.

Other ordinance violations under the amended language include consumption while operating a motor vehicle or boat, on school or day care grounds, anywhere smoking is prohibited and within 15 feet of persons under 21 years of age who are not registered medical cannabis patients.

In other business Monday night, the city council approved levying taxes for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2020. Columbia Treasurer Linda Sharp reported that the levy is $2,689,000, which represents a 4.7 percent “increase over the tax extended in the prior year, 2018.”

The council also approved preliminary engineering services for Phase II of the Quarry Road resurfacing project.

The board also approved the appointment of Nicole Guile as full-time accounting manager for the city. She is expected to begin Jan. 16, 2020.

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