The issue of whether or not to approve the sale of cannabis in multiple municipalities and cities across Illinois has been a hot topic as of late. Originally, it seemed as if Cerro Gordo would create an ordinance prohibiting the sale of cannabis come Jan. 1, but after last week’s village board meeting are leaning toward allowing sales.
Bement recently discussed the issue and will more than likely adopt an ordinance in December prohibiting the sale. Decatur did the same. Monticello opted to have a moratorium on the issue. Harristown will probably adopt an ordinance allowing the sale. Warrensburg is allowing citizens to vote on the issue with the next election. However, the amount of licenses available is limited and it is hard to say which municipality or city will obtain a license.
On Nov. 18, this subject was approached again in Cerro Gordo.
Cerro Gordo took a poll of its board, with four of the members said they were in favor. One, Trustee Mike Martin, was against allowing the sale.
“Decatur voted against it. I’m in agreement,” said Martin.
Trustee Linda Ash said she is on the fence, but felt like action was needed one way or another.
“Either say no or we do the ordinance,” she said.
Trustee Aaron Weldy stated, “Then we can regulate it as we see fit.” T
o which Ash replied, “I understand that even though I’m totally against it the cannabis thing altogether, but I understand when you are coming from.”
Village President Tim Allen cited that it could be an opportunity for the village, albeit a small one,.
“There is potential, you hate to look at it from a money standpoint, but we get less and less. You have to consider that,” stated Allen.
Weldy agreed, commenting, “There is a potential for the business side of it. There’s a lot there. There’s bakeries that use it. Cannabis infused products, beverages, and edibles are going to be a big thing. It’s coming. Why limit ourselves to not have that opportunity?”
There was discussion on setting a moratorium – similar to what Monticello has done – but Trustee Beth Medlen stated that, “If there is an interested party an investor will call them. If we have a moratorium and they don’t ,they will be much more wary of coming to us.”
Allen cited the potential for growth if someone was interested for necessary things for the village using the 3 percent tax the village could impose on cannabis sales.
“You do 1 percent for police protection, 1 percent for education just strictly the goods and the bads, they are going to fund that for you, and 1 percent for village for streets. Water projects, sewer projects.”
Medlen added, “Even if we are all open minded we all still know there is not enough data. Not strong enough history to make any accusations for it or backward, so we truly have to base everything on just what the facts are... and that’s not always easy to do especially in this case where most of us grew up with it as an illegal drug anyway. I get that. I liked the idea of having a town meeting or something, but the more people I talk to...people kinda take it as I don’t care enough to show up to have an opinion.”
Trustee Jeff Powers added, “Even if we okay it, doesn’t mean anyone is going to come here.”
The board went on to discuss what restrictions they may impose.
Ideas include allowing just one dispensary or place of sale, and apply the same restrictions the liquor ordinance has on how far away the business has to be from a school, church, or daycare.
There has been a lot of comparison to these licenses to liquor, but they are not the same. For one the expense can be up to $100,000 worth of investment. And municipalities can set stringent restrictions on the matter.
Attorney Susan Nichols stated, “everyone is kinda going in blind right now and a lot of people are comparing it to liquor.”
Allen added, “Just like Aaron said, it is not going to keep it from town. If Monticello chooses to do it, they’re going to go there.”
The board will officially decide next month whether or not to pass an ordinance allowing the sale, prohibiting the sale, and some may do nothing or wait until the election to decide.
Three local businesses have completed their requirements for TIF reimbursements. Judy’s Kitchen, Fraizer (owner of lots for houses in the Rock Ridge Subdivision in the TIF area), and The Depot all submitted applications. They were approved to send to the attorney for review.
A cap was made for the water tap needed for the Rock Ridge Subdivision in the TIF district that Fraizer owns. The cap was set at no more than $5,000 for reimbursement towards a tap. Weldy stated, “I don’t think we should discourage people from building.” To which the board agreed, but a cap needs to be set to make a “precedence.”
The IEPA agreement that has been in the works was formally approved through signing a contract with Fehr Graham. Engineer Matt Johnson was present. “The IEPA has sent us a notice of categorical conclusion in detail of environmental review. With this is they have reviewed our planning documents and have found the project to be so necessary, so affordable that there is really no reason to go through further review.” The agreement will be posted for ten days where agendas are posted as well as on the website. After ten days Fehr Graham will begin the next phase of design for the project. The village will receive 60 percent back from the State, so it is basically a grant for the project with 1.5 percent interest on the remaining portion, and the option for a 30-year financing.
Two water adjustments were approved: Christopher Husky, $178.49 to $70.65; and and Gavin McCee, $336.50 to $127.71