Every week we ask a village or school official three questions. This week we spoke to St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges about the legalization of marijuana within the state of Illinois.
This post is sponsored by St. Joseph Siding and Window.
Does your zoning currently allow a marijuana dispensary to open within the village?
Currently, the village doesn’t have any kind of zoning in place to help regulate where or how marijuana could be sold in the village. The village zoning is very much out of date and legalized marijuana was unheard of when these zoning regulations were put into place. So technically, if marijuana was legal today, the village would not have any zoning to determine where that business could locate and a dispensary could open anywhere in our commercial or downtown districts.
What are some concerns you have regarding the legalization of marijuana in the state of Illinois?
A few concerns that I have as the Village President and a member of this community is the possible increase in driving under the influence, easier access to our youth, the long term effects to our youth, how to regulate use in public places, how to deal with legal use and employees especially those who operate equipment, accidental exposure to pets and children, and the overall impact on society already struggling to help those with substance abuse problems and mental illness issues.
There is conflicting information from both sides of the issue of legal recreational marijuana.
Law enforcement and many medical professionals have concerns going forward.
The village board will have to decide whether or not we will welcome a business that sells marijuana or opt out. We are waiting to get some guidelines for those regulations from the Illinois Municipal League and the decision will have to be made with caution. Most community members that have spoken to me about the issue have not been in favor of any kind of marijuana being sold in the village.
3. Do you think a business like this would be successful in the village considering the make up of residents and the fact that most residents work in town?
St. Joseph is a bedroom community with people wanting to live here because of our small town values, great schools, safe environment and easy access to the bigger cities.
A business selling marijuana in the village doesn’t seem to be a good fit for the majority of our residents and most likely would have a hard time competing with the larger cities. Most of our residents work outside of the village and those who want to be marijuana consumers will most likely make those purchases outside of the community as well.
The Village Trustees have not had the opportunity to have any kind of in depth discussion about the issue at this time and these thoughts are strictly mine. While serving the Village of St. Joseph as a trustee and now as the Mayor I have always done so with passion for the village and it’s residents to hopefully make good decisions that will make our community the best it can be!