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Bloomington To Consider Cannabis Task Force

Bloomington City Council chambers
Eric Stock
A task force involving law enforcement, business owners and other community leaders would look for ways to foster the marijuana industry in Bloomington, if the Bloomington City Council approves tonight.

The Bloomington City Council will consider creating a task force to figure how it will handle recreational marijuana use when it becomes legal Jan. 1.
The panel votes Monday night on council member Jenn Carrillo's request to set up a panel involving business owners, law enforcement and addiction counselors to offer their perspectives on legal pot.

Proponents of legalized marijuana tout all the tax revenue it will generate. City Manager Tim Gleason said there's no way to project whether it will help Bloomington's bottom line.

“I’m not sure, yet to be determined” Gleason said. “I know the state is banking on this being high revenue producing. We’ll see what happens at the local level.”

Gleason also said he wants to ensure the group's work won't go to waste, unlike the recent downtown task force. Many of its key recommendations were ignored.

“I’m very aware of some of the criticism, some of the concerns,” Gleason said, noting that was before his time in Bloomington. “So I guess I’m equipped with that knowledge that if a task force is formed I’m confident we won’t go down that same path.”

Carrillo said previously she wants Bloomington to embrace the cannabis industry to boost tourism.

The 10-member task force would be composed of two city council members, two representatives from law enforcement, two business owners and prospective business owners, one addiction specialist and three community group representatives. Mayor Tari Renner would make the appointments. Carrillo would chair the panel.

Injury Settlement

The city council will also consider a $129,000 workers compensation settlement for a now-retired Bloomington firefighter who was injured on the job.

According to city documents, John Meckley reaggravated a lower back injury when he moved a patient weighing more than 350 pounds with a MegaMover tarp.

Meckley, the former president of the Bloomington Firefighters Union IAFF Local 49, was 59 at the time of the injury.

Gleason said the city uses a third-party vendor, Pennsylvania-based PMA Companies, to calculate proposed settlements based on each specific injury.

“We let them run the lead on this and typically it’s one that’s settled rather quickly,” he said.

Chief Reception

The city will host a welcome reception for new Bloomington Police Chief Dan Donath at 5:30 p.m. prior to the council meeting at city hall. The city will conduct a formal swearing in of Donath during the 6 p.m. meeting.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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