September 16, 2019 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

St. Joseph holds public meeting on Marijuana Sales within the village

We are here at the public meeting. Held at St. Joseph Middle School. It starts at 6:30 p.m. So far there are about 21 people in attendance.

6:26 p.m. it’s getting busier. Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges and Trustees Art Raap, Dan Davis and Jim Wagner are in attendance.

Those speaking in the meeting tonight will have to follow the board’s meeting participation policy. 5 minutes, state your name and address.

6:30 p.m. Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges opening the meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to help the trustees decide if constituents want to allow marijuana sales within the village.

Mayor Fruhling-Voges stressing this is a listening session for the board. The board will discuss it on Aug. 27 at their regular board meeting held at Village Hall. They plan on voting on the issue on Sept. 10.

6:34 p.m. Fruhling-Voges stressing the meeting is not to discuss the good or bad of marijuana. “If you go online you can find just about any article to back the good of marijuana or you will equally find the issues with legal marijuana.” “We are not here to discuss that.” Stresses there is not enough research to discuss the long term effects of long term marijuana use.

“Our biggest concern is we want to know what is best for the community here.”

Fruhling-Voges stating they only allowed sale of alcohol in 2005.
Discussing type of liquor licenses the village currently has.

Fruhling-Voges discussing how the legislature decided to legalize instead of doing it through ballot initiative. “We may have had a better idea of where we stood as a community on allowing it to be sold.”

Fruhling-Voges admitting that the village probably won’t be a location for a dispensary within the first wave of licensing. Also pointing out that since the village is so close to Urbana and Danville it is unlikely that a license application would be chosen. Saying the cost of the license application and number of fees would be prohibitive.

Discussing application fees.

The Illinois Municipal League believes that the income for the village would come from sales tax, Fruhling-Voges said, not application fees.

6:46 p.m. Mayor talking about how people who sell marijuana illegally will probably still sell it illegally.

Now discussing unintended consequences. “It is an experiment in the State of Illinois.” Discussing increased DUI’s, mental health issues, ect.


Mark Maddock asking mayor why she is presenting negative opinions on the issue. “I thought the trustees were supposed to have a clean slate and listen to the community.”

Mayor said these are her opening statement as mayor.

Mayor saying IGA struggles because it is used as a convenience store. Says we need to hold on to our local businesses. Says people want a hardware store not a dispensary but there was a hardware store and people didn’t support it enough to keep it open.

6:51 p.m. Mayor saying other towns, such as Naperville, have opted out which is one option.

Mayor now talking about the “brand” of St. Joseph. Said village has to decide what the brand is.

6:55 p.m. Getting to public comment now.

Resident asking if people can vote so trustees know where people stand.

Jim O’Brien:
Suggesting putting it on the ballot so the village residents can vote on the issue.

Mark Maddock:
2016 advisory vote at the St. Joseph precincts.

Mark bringing up golf carts ordinance, time, work and effort that went into that ordinance for a few people.

Citing the number of deaths due to alcohol-88,000 a year. No deaths reported due to pot.

Stating estimated $15,000 in sales tax revenue is still a lot of money that the board would be turning down.

Thanks the board opportunity to speak.

Resident:

I object that as a citizen in this state we didn’t get a chance to vote. This is illegal within the federal government. Thirdly, if marijuana was universally accepted as a good thing we wouldn’t have this discussion at all. Four, legal fees a ridiculous use of our tax dollars.

It snowballs because some people want to get high. Pick up your marijuana in St. Joseph.

Another resident:


I didn’t want my kids going to school in Champaign-Urbana. “What is drawing people into St. Joseph?” I feel very strongly that this is not for our community.

Sandy: You need to look at the drugs that are born in their systems. I do not know why you would want this? There are no long term studies. Just think what alcohol is doing. I don’t want this to end up being another Chicago.

Gary Garrison: I worked with young people for 50 plus years as a guidance counselor, teacher, coach. I have seen lots of heartache from drug use. I don’t think that economically or socially our community needs drug dispensaries. Garrison discussing how marijuana is a gateway drug.

Les: discussing how he works with those in recovery and has been sober for 10 years. Discussing how law enforcement, effects on high school students in Colorado. The majority of people in our program say marijuana is a gateway drug. Said he is more concerned about the opioid epidemic which he believes marijuana is a gateway too.

A resident from Urbana: says he is a small-town guy. Graduated in 1984. Discusses how marijuana is a gateway drug. Says he works as an embalmer. Sees toxicology reports.

Resident discussing a car crash in Texas where driver was high on marijuana. Discussing crime near medical marijuana centers in Urbana. And number of kids who overdose after eating weed cookies, candy, ect.

Asking what type of town the trustees want St. Joseph to be? Says he drove past Hackler Park, Freese Funeral Home, ect.

Saying that we don’t need to be the generation that voted to allow pot to be sold here.

Resident discussing the reduced mental capacity of drivers within the village if on marijuana. Saying it is all about money and that is why the state decriminalized it.

Brad Krall: I am probably not going to say a lot of things because people said things better than I could. I know that you challenged us not to speak to the pros and cons of marijuana. We need to because what we are discussing is accessibility. We would urge you to opt out of the dispensaries and protect this beautiful town that we love.

Resident: I am a big fan of free markets. I think we should allow a business person to make that decision and if they want to make a go of it let them try. I don’t think they will have enough business.

Terri Maddock: I agree with the first gentleman lets have a referendum. Let’s put it on the ballot.

Tami arguing that a referendum costs money but that the village could look at placing it on the ballot.
Tami saying that the village needs to have ordinances in place by Jan 1 to prevent it.

Tami explaining that St. Joe is nonhomerule meaning that all ordinances in place have to follow state statute. Meaning, they cannot ban people with medical cards from growing their own marijuana.

Amber Anderson, a math professor,- Golf carts were made a priority so I guess it depends on who thinks its a priority. This is not a decent sample size to get any kind of idea regarding what the village thinks.

Tami- we will look at all the things we need to look at moving forward. We have open board meetings the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. You are all welcome to come.

Resident discussing the effect on youth again. “We are the examples we set for our children.”

Amber Anderson: It’s already been legalized. It has already been done. You still can’t get high and drive. You can’t get drunk and drive without consequences. There are still regulations in place.

Mayor asked for a timeline regarding the referendum. Said she will look into it and make it know via media.

A resident said he doesn’t want his money spent on discussing it or researching it.

Angela Page: The people who are against it are so passionate about being against it. I dont know how anyone would welcome it not being on a referendum. It is a big deal.

Mayor wrapping it up. Encouraging people to continue discussing it.

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