Mount Prospect takes a pass on recreational pot

  • Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com

    Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com

 
Posted12/11/2019 5:00 AM

Mount Prospect, a community where friendliness is a way of life, proved decidedly unfriendly to recreational marijuana.

By a 4-2 vote, the village board chose Tuesday night to opt out of the sale of recreational pot in the village, which already has a medical dispensary.

 

The result delighted several in the audience who were wearing orange and white 'opt out' shirts and spoke passionately against the sale.

Voting in the majority were trustees Paul Hoefert, William Grossi, Richard Rogers and Eleni Hatzis.

Hatzis spoke strongly about her feeling of responsibility as a parent.

She said she had been confronted by her 9-year-old son on the topic. Mentioning that she has taught him and his siblings to say no to drugs, he told her, "I want to know how you can tell me that you're going to vote 'yes' on something like this, when you're telling me not to do it."

Calling it a moral issue, she said, "I'm just torn at the thought of what message it gives to our children."

Hoefert restated his commitment to the brand of Mount Prospect as a family-friendly community.

Hoefert, who opposed bringing video gambling, which is now legal in the village, to Mount Prospect, said, "I'm very comfortable with where I stand on this. I was very comfortable where I stood on video gaming. And I'll be very comfortable in the future with the other vices that our governor brings our way."

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Grossi spoke of the medical consequences of marijuana use.

"There are studies that now show that use by mothers during pregnancy may be linked to problems with attention, memory, problem-solving skills and behavioral problems in their children," he said.

Trustees Colleen Saccotelli and Michael Zadel voted to opt in, following the recommendations of two Mount Prospect commissions, finance and economic development.

The planning and zoning commission had recommended recreational sales as a conditional use in certain nonresidential zones.

Regarding the impact on the village's image, Zadel said, "I'm hard pressed to believe that someone would move out of, or consider not moving into, the village of Mount Prospect because we allow a dispensary within our confines."

He mentioned the schools, the park district, the economy and the housing stock as reasons people move into the village. He added that the revenue from pot sales would have more than covered the village's 2 percent property tax increase.

Saccotelli warned that the revenue is necessary to address the issue of marijuana use in the village whether it opts in or not.

"So why not give our police and our fire the resources necessary to address this issue and to keep our community safe?"

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