After previously leaning towards opting out of recreational adult-use cannabis sales, Naperville City Council now wants to keep their options open.
They voted at their most recent meeting to direct city staff to come back with information on what opting in would mean for Naperville – such as the cost of law enforcement, appropriate hours of operation, and how many dispensaries should be allowed. Naperville currently has one medical marijuana dispensary, 3C Compassionate Care Center. They previously expressed interest in offering recreational sales as well.
A Divisive Issue
While some councilmembers have stayed firmly on either side of the debate, others have said they go back and forth and want to see both options before them when they make a decision.
Councilman Patrick Kelly, who voted for staff to prepare an opt-out ordinance last month, said he’s done a lot of research since that vote.
“What I heard and what I read, led me to feel quite comfortable in the fact that having a dispensary in a city in a state that has already legalized marijuana recreationally, would not in fact have any negative impacts on that city,” said Kelly.
Lots of Public Comment
About 20 public speakers addressed the dais on the issue, some argued opting out would be ceding potential benefits to neighboring communities.
“I’m here as a resident of Naperville because I think you’re missing the boat on taxes, on zoning, on being able to control what your community can do,” said Naperville resident Barbara O’Meara.
Others said opting in would make it easier for children to acquire the drug.
“To allow the marijuana industry to advertise to young people like the tobacco industry and like the alcohol industry has, is to willfully harm the young, developing minds of this city,” said Zach Wu, a freshman at Naperville North High School.
City Attorney Michael DiSanto told council that they don’t need a decision by January 1, when recreational adult-use cannabis sales become legal statewide, but the sooner that decision comes, the better.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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