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Local News

Minooka says no to marijuana businesses

Minooka becomes the latest community to prohibit marijuana sales

The Minooka Village Board voted to prohibit marijuana businesses with little fanfare at its meeting Tuesday night.

However, the vote was not unanimous.

Trustees Chad Hrechko, Dennis Martin, Ric Offerman and Dick Parrish voted in favor of the ban, and Trustees Terry Houchens and Barry Thompson voted against it.

No residents spoke during the public hearing section of the meeting, which surprised Mayor Pat Brennan. Some trustees said they had been hearing from residents about their opinions.

Houchens even said he had changed his mind in favor of allowing marijuana businesses after conversations with his neighbors, although he felt some still struggled with the morality of the topic.

“Most people were
OK with it, which actually surprised me,” Houchens said.

Thompson said it “made a lot of sense” for the village to tax and regulate sales within its borders, especially because its neighbors in Morris and Joliet were on the their way to allowing businesses.

Parrish said he disagreed with his colleague, citing worries about young people such as his grandchildren being exposed to marijuana sales. He also said that the overwhelming majority of residents he spoke to were against allowing marijuana businesses in town.

“I just think I want to keep the town as clean as we possibly can,” Parrish said. “And I think when you introduce a drug to the town, I think you put a little bit of a damper on that.”

When the state legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act earlier this year, it allowed for municipalities to “opt out” of allowing recreational marijuana businesses within their borders, including cultivators, dispensaries, infusers, craft growers, processors and transporters.

Minooka is just the latest Will County community to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses.

Other local communities already have opted out, including Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, Frankfort, Homer Glen, Lockport, Mokena, New Lenox, Plainfield and Wilmington.

Brennan said he could foresee a day when the communities that have prohibited marijuana businesses might rethink the decision down the road. He said he wants to see how the debate plays out and how the state legislature handles concerns such as enforcement for drivers who use marijuana.

“As soon as they get the rules all straightened out downstate,” Brennan said. “I think we can look at it again maybe a year from now, or maybe less than that.”

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