Lisle delaying vote on potential marijuana sales

Lisle trustees will wait at least a month before deciding if recreational cannabis can be sold in the village.

The village board on Monday night started talking about whether to allow businesses to sell marijuana under Illinois' Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which will make recreational use and possession by adults legal across the state beginning Jan. 1.

But the discussion was continued until next month after several trustees said they needed more time to study the issue and get feedback.

"I don't have a pulse on what people want on this," Trustee Cathy Cawiezel said.

She said the village "made a lot of effort" to solicit residents' opinions about other controversial topics, including video gambling.

Trustee Marie Hasse said she urged people to attend Monday's meeting or email the board because she wants to know what residents think before voting.

"My mind is not made up one way or another," Hasse stressed. "I don't know what the right answer is. So I do want to hear from the residents."

Even though Monday's discussion didn't start until well after 10 p.m., a group of residents stayed to share their views.

Michael Connelly, a former state senator who lives in Lisle, said recreational cannabis is not going to be the panacea that marijuana lobbyists make it out to be.

He asked trustees to adopt an ordinance to opt out of the retail portion of the state law.

"I don't want it sold in our town," Connelly said.

Two residents spoke in favor of allowing the sale of recreational cannabis, including Nicholas Honeysett.

Honeysett said Lisle could benefit financially from the sale of recreational cannabis, especially if other nearby towns ban it.

"If you are going to be the front-runner on this, you are going to have tens of thousands of people ... visit Lisle," he said. "We can put ourselves on the map."

Towns that permit cannabis sales are allowed to place local sales taxes of up to 3% on the sales.

Honeysett said that's revenue the village could use for things like street repairs and bike paths.

But resident Stephanie Trussell says Lisle doesn't need a recreational marijuana dispensary.

"This is same town that said 'no' to Meijer," Trussell said. "We're having a conversation about whether or not we should bring marijuana here? It's unbelievable to me."

Just because the state of Illinois "has gone crazy," Trussell said, Lisle doesn't need to take that path.

"We can do better," she said.

One resident suggested the village should let the voters decide by putting the issue on the ballot in 2020.

Because a decision must be made before Jan. 1, officials said the board could approve a ban before the deadline and have a ballot measure later to reverse it.

In the meantime, Trustee Stephen Winz said the board needs to be educated on the issue.

"My obvious first thought goes to our first responders," Winz said. "Their input is pivotal. They're the ones that are going to see it."

The board is expected to schedule a special meeting next month to continue the discussion.

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