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Minooka Village Board seeks public input on recreational cannabis sales

The Minooka Village Board of Trustees is looking to get the community’s input before putting an ordinance to opt-out of allowing recreational marijuana sales to vote.

Village Administrator Dan Duffy said trustees have raised a lot of questions about the topic during their workshops.

“Staff had given them what the state parameters are for all municipalities as far as sales of recreational cannabis,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be legal to utilize in Minooka—no matter what. We’re looking at just the sales allowed in Minooka.”

Many communities in suburban Illinois are debating whether to allow recreational marijuana sales in town. The state of Illinois decided earlier this year to legalize it, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Communities also are given the option of opting in or opting out of allowing recreational marijuana sales.

At the village board’s Oct. 16 committee of the whole meeting, some trustees voiced opposition to it.

Trustee Ric Offerman said he believes Minooka can do without allowing recreational marijuana sales in town.

“We’re in pretty good shape financially,” he said. “I hate to say, ‘Oh, here’s the cash cow. Let’s jump on it.’ Not all cows give good milk.”

Marijuana is currently legally permitted for medicinal use in Illinois.

“I’ve seen some problems over the years when it was illegal,” Offerman said. “I don’t know if the problems would go away. We have a place in Morris where you can get it. It’s not too far to go.”

However, not everyone on the village board supports the idea of banning recreational marijuana sales in Minooka. Trustee Barry Thompson said he would prefer to regulate it rather than prohibit it.

“From what I read and what I understand, you don’t get that true craving that makes you need to have it, go out, and do things that are bad to obtain it,” he said. “I don’t think we have that kind of issue with marijuana. I don’t know. I don’t use it. It’s just not my personality.”

Thompson questioned the logic behind banning recreational marijuana sales in town.

“My belief is if it’s going to be legal in the state of Illinois, why would you say no to something that doesn’t mean you’re going to increase usage in town?” he asked. “It’s probably prevalent in a lot of different locations anyway. You’re going to give that revenue from somebody who wants to buy it legally now to another location.”

The board is expected to hold a public hearing at its Nov. 26 meeting, at which residents can speak their minds. A formal vote will be necessary after that.

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