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Shorewood considering options on marijuana-based businesses

Village has to decided to opt in or opt out of allowing cannabis sales

Shorewood officials got a scent of the public's sentiments on allowing marijuana-based businesses in the village.

In January, state law will significantly ease restrictions on marijuana possession and allow sales of cannabis products to recreational users at licensed dispensaries. Municipalities throughout Illinois are deciding whether to "opt in or opt out" of permitting dispensaries.

Shorewood has yet to propose any ordinance allowing or banning marijuana businesses.

On Nov. 12, village trustees hosted a public forum where about 50 residents came to share their views on the issue.

It seemed a slight majority is in favor of allowing marijuana sales, citing tax revenue and easier access for people seeking cannabis to deal with pain issues.

Others, however, worry condoning marijuana sales will diminish the village's quality of life and overburden Shorewood police.

Jane Birkman was one resident in support of allowing marijuana businesses.

"Big tax dollars come in and that's great. It isn't always about the money, but it's here already," she said.

The village could implement a three percent tax on cannabis businesses. "Why let Joliet make all the money off it?" Josh Valle asked. "I'd rather have my kids getting it from a dispensary than on the street."

"My first concern is for the children of this community. THC levels are much more powerful than the pot of the 60's," Dawn Domiani said. "Teens will go where it's cheaper (than dispensaries)."

Mary Hoffman, whose adult son uses medical marijuana to treat his epilepsy, said recreational cannabis sales will help more people who would try using it for treatment.

"Even with (a prescription) it's such a long process," she said. "Bringing recreational in you allow them to (consult) with people who can help match them to a particular medicine."

Ralph Meyer, on the other hand, sees no social benefit in allowing marijuana sales.

"I know it's tempting to look upon revenues, but what are we going to do if it's five or ten years down the road and we're having the same conversation on prostitution," he asked the board.

"Nobody up here (on the board) is just looking at the money," Mayor Rick Chapman said. "What's popular is not always right. But (it) is a great revenue stream...we're going to be coming up with some huge outlays of cash for Lake Michigan water in the next couple years. We're going to consider everything."


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