A McLean County Board member wants the public to have a say on where a marijuana business might be allowed to locate when recreational cannabis use becomes legal in Illinois next year.
Republican Chuck Erickson of Bloomington is asking the board to put two advisory questions on the primary ballot next March. It would ask if voters want to allow a marijuana dispensary or some other type of cannabis operation (growing, processing, transporting, infusing) in unincorporated areas of the county.
“Personally, I’m not for legalized recreational marijuana, but I’m also not opposed to saying if the voters want to speak on a subject, I’m willing to listen,” Erickson said. "I'm not trying to be ideological about it, I'm trying to be practical. What can we do with what we have?"
Erickson points out the county could ban cannabis operations in unincorporated areas, while still taxing those that set up in Bloomington-Normal.
McLean County hasn’t formally adopted a marijuana policy, but the county’s Land Use Committee, which Erickson chairs, and the Zoning Board of Appeals have been working on crafting a zoning structure.
McLean County doesn't project any tax revenue from cannabis sales in 2020.
The ballot question would be open to all McLean County voters, which would include residents in Bloomington and Normal.
Erickson said allowing only residents in unincorporated areas to vote would pose legal and practical concerns. He acknowledged making the vote countywide could skew the results by gauging the views of residents in communities that have already opted in.
“Some members of the County Board may say, ‘No, I don’t want an advisory referendum for that very reason,’” Erickson said.
The County Board will take up the request at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday.
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