Debate over recreational marijuana sales continues in Des Plaines

Des Plaines city leaders on Monday continued their discussions on whether to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in town but held off on a decision for at least another two weeks.

Alderman Carla Brookman, chairwoman of the city council's legal and licensing committee, strongly opposes permitting sales, saying Monday that Illinois lawmakers made a mistake by making recreational use legal for adults beginning Jan. 1.

"We've been promoting, for as many years as I can remember, when my daughter was still in high school, 'Say no to drugs,'" she said. "Those young people are watching us tonight. They're watching what we say and we're adults, we're legislators. ... I think we should say 'no' to drugs tonight."

Alderman Colt Moylan - whose father, former Des Plaines mayor and current state Rep. Marty Moylan, voted against legalization - said that message should not come from city ordinances.

"We have a job to do, but as a parent I feel like that starts at home," he said.

Most aldermen remain on the fence about permitting sales. Alderman Denise Rodd said permitting marijuana sales in Des Plaines may not have a significant impact on use, noting that surrounding municipalities may permit sales. She asked if there were any data showing that marijuana use decreased after a community banned its sale.

"If that can be proven to me, then it seems the answer of course would be no, we can't allow the sale or cultivation of cannabis," Rodd said.

Brookman replied that city officials should do what is right for their residents, rather than debating whether the decision would affect use. She and Police Chief William Kushner raised concerns about accidental consumption by children and questioned how teachers would know whether baked goods brought in by students were infused with marijuana.

Several residents also voiced opposition to marijuana sales in town, with most citing the dangers of driving while under the influence.

The discussion ended Monday after Brookman asked City Manager Mike Bartholomew to put the issue on the council agenda for either its Aug. 19 or Sept. 3 meetings.

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