3 DuPage Democrats want county to permit recreational cannabis sales
Three Democrats on the DuPage County Board are calling on the county to permit the sale of recreational cannabis in unincorporated areas.
In a letter sent to their Democratic colleagues on the board, Ashley Selmon of Addison, Sadia Covert of Naperville and Sheila Rutledge of Warrenville said they want to "initiate the discussion" of accommodating the state's new cannabis bill that legalizes pot sales for adults beginning Jan. 1.
"DuPage County faces an opportunity -- we can, and should, choose to embrace this legislation and allow sales in our county," the letter says.
"Studies show that cannabis use by adults is less addictive, and a safer alternative medical treatment to opioids. In fact, many people use cannabis for medicinal purposes, for natural and effective pain relief. In 2018, DuPage County saw a 78 percent increase in deaths from fentanyl -- a potent and dangerous opioid when abused -- and a 3 percent increase in opioid-related deaths. Legalized sales in DuPage County can be a tool to reducing the effects of the opioid epidemic in our county," the three board members wrote.
They said cannabis sales also will provide a new revenue stream for the county.
"We believe DuPage County should be a leader in developing a well-researched, fact-based county ordinance to address important community concerns -- such as the impacts to local law enforcement and ensuring that cannabis does not fall into children's hands," they said.
The Naperville City Council voted 4-3 earlier this week to ban recreational cannabis sales.
Covert said she wants to work with municipalities moving forward to get ahead of the issue and find the best ways to control, contain and regulate and monitor cannabis sales -- with an emphasis on keeping it out of the hands of children.
She said the three board members want the county to start the discussion as soon as possible to ensure an open dialogue and give constituents time to be heard.