BRADLEY — Fewer than 15 people attended Bradley’s final town hall meeting regarding whether or not the village should OK the sale of recreational marijuana within its limits.
And like previous meetings in Bradley and Kankakee — which also are considering allowing marijuana sales — both sides of the debate were represented.
At Thursday’s Community Development Committee meeting, three people spoke in favor, one against and another was simply seeking information.
Robert Augustine and Kimberly Sanchez, both of Bradley, spoke in favor of its sale stating marijuana offers medical benefits and also would help drive away those peddling the drug illegally.
“It’s not about getting high,” Sanchez said. “So many people think just the bad things. People need to be better informed” of the positive effects it offers.
Augustine described pot’s legalization as a “real good idea.” He said offering the sale of marijuana legally may help rid the village of those selling drugs and would help make the village a better place to live.
However, Derek Miller, also of Bradley, who described himself as a longtime village resident, encouraged the board to reject the idea of selling this product, which becomes legal on Jan. 1 in Illinois.
He said the negative effects on the village would outweigh the positives — meaning extra sales tax revenues. It is unknown how much sales tax the village would gain.
He stated legalization would increase drug addiction and dependency. He said it also would impact driving safety as there would be a potential for increased driving under the influence incidents.
“I believe this would be another barrier to families thriving and flourishing in our community. There are not enough studies regarding the long-term effects on communities,” he said of recreational marijuana legalization.
“You are really voting on an experiment of Bradley residents,” he added.
Miller said he is not against medical marijuana.
At earlier meetings in Bradley and Kankakee, Kankakee County Health Department officials have urged elected leaders to vote against marijuana dispensaries.
Bourbonnais village board member Randy King, who also is owner of King Music in Bradley, wanted to know if the village was considering a marijuana cultivation center. He also asked where a marijuana-selling business would be located.
Mayor Pro Tem Mike Watson said those are issues the board has not yet addressed. Watson said the first decision for the board is to determine whether this is something the village wants or doesn’t want.
If the village decides to move ahead, then laws would need to be drafted to answer those questions and others.
The law allowing the consumption and sale of recreational marijuana in Illinois was voted into law this summer. The law allows municipalities the opportunity to have it sold or not sold within its boundaries. Regardless of that decision, marijuana will be legal to smoke in homes statewide.