Des Plaines won't leave marijuana sales decision to voters

  • Des Plaines aldermen shot down a proposal Monday night to hold a referendum seeking voter input on whether to allow marijuana sales in the city.

    Des Plaines aldermen shot down a proposal Monday night to hold a referendum seeking voter input on whether to allow marijuana sales in the city. Associated Press

 
By Samantha Jacobson
sjacobson@dailyherald.com
Updated 8/20/2019 4:14 PM

Des Plaines officials won't be asking voters to weigh in on whether to city should allow sales of recreational marijuana in town.

Aldermen voted 6-2 Monday against a proposal to hold a referendum seeking resident input on the issue. Instead, they voted to turn the issue over to the city's planning and zoning board for a recommendation on potential regulations for sellers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

As directed by Mayor Matt Bogusz, city staff will compile a list of questions for the planning board to consider as they make their recommendation.

Recreational use of marijuana by adults becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1. While individual communities cannot outlaw possession or use, they can ban sales or place restrictions on sellers.

Ward 5 Aldermen Carla Brookman, a strong opponent of legalization, proposed the referendum. She indicated she was frustrated by the way legalization came about in Illinois.

"Every other state that legalized marijuana, they did it through a voter referendum," Brookman said. "Here in the state of Illinois, it wasn't done with a referendum. It was done with a flawed House bill and a stroke of a pen by the governor."

Ward 6 Alderman Malcom Chester said he would support a ban on sales if he thought it would impact use.

"The one positive this does is ensures (users') supply ... that there's going to be legitimate product that's been regulated by the government," Chester added. "It's going to have what it says it has in it."

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Ward 3 Alderman Denise Rodd said she had been given a new perspective after a meeting with residents last week. She wondered about the message a city ban would send to residents who use marijuana for medical needs.

"By not allowing the sale of marijuana, I'm kind of telling them they're second class citizens in a way," she said.

Ward 2 Alderman Colt Moylan and Ward 1 Alderman Mark Lysakowski said they've heard little negative feedback about allowing sales in the city. "Marijuana is here. We need to control it the best we can," Lysakowski said.

Moylan's father and the previous Des Plaines mayor, state Rep. Marty Moylan, was one of the leading voices in the state House opposing legalization.

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