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Local News

Shorewood schedules forum on recreational pot shops

Mayor, trustees scale back from previous ‘no’ sentiment

A bud tender holds two marijuana buds on his fingers Nov. 27, 2015, on the way to a customer at the Denver Kush Club in north Denver.
A bud tender holds two marijuana buds on his fingers Nov. 27, 2015, on the way to a customer at the Denver Kush Club in north Denver.

After more discussion on the topic, Shorewood officials have scheduled a public forum in several weeks on the question of recreational marijuana businesses in the village.

But discussion among officials again took place concerning potential recreational marijuana businesses during Tuesday’s Shorewood Board of Trustees meeting. The board considered the pros and cons of allowing cannabis-related businesses to operate within village limits.

Mayor Rick Chapman, who voiced a strong “no” to these businesses during the September Committee of the Whole meeting, said he now falls somewhere in the middle and recognizes the moral versus financial issues of the topic.

“I haven’t figured out which way to go,” Chapman said Tuesday.

Chapman’s previous recommendation was to “keep [marijuana businesses] out of our village, and we don’t entice the kids to do something they shouldn’t be doing.”

Trustee Dan Anderson echoed that sentiment last meeting, saying the police department has been in schools teaching about the negative effects of drugs for more than 35 years.

“We teach the kids not to do this, then we say, ‘Go do this.’ It’s stupid,” Anderson previously said.

Economic Development Director Kelley Chrisse on Tuesday clarified the village’s position in regards to tax benefits from the state, specifically concerning the Local Government Distributive Fund set aside for prevention and training of law enforcement.

She said even if the village opted out of allowing cannabis-based businesses, it still would be able to collect the state-allocated 8% LGDF funds.

In order to give a clearer picture on the look of a dispensary, Chrisse showed trustees a short video of an existing dispensary in another state and statistics on one in Aurora, Colorado. She explained Aurora was a much larger city and offered different demographics, but showed numbers on what revenue could look like.

Chrisse said Colorado has more than 500 dispensaries, and Illinois will begin with only 75, with 47 allocated for the Chicago area.

Trustee Dan Warren asked Chrisse whether she could find statistics on a municipality more similar to Shorewood to pull data from to bring to the next board meeting.

In the event the village allows cannabis businesses, it will look at potential locations and how these businesses will operate. Chapman gave opinions on both sides and said if the businesses were allowed, on top of taxes allocated by the state, the village could add taxes up to 3.5%.

He said there are big changes with the Lake Michigan Water Initiative coming soon to the village, which will create big bonds and big loans, so some of this extra tax money could help.

Trustee Steve Brockman offered his own statistics he found online and raised concerns about addiction, crime, operation of motor vehicles under the influence and more.

“I’m a farmer. I want to be weed-free in my fields; I’d like Shorewood to go weed-free too,” Brockman said.

A community forum is scheduled for
6 p.m. Nov. 12 before the regular 7 p.m. board meeting at Village Hall. Officials agreed that community input is a must before determining what to do as a village.

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