A motion authorizing Glen Carbon Mayor Rob Jackstadt to send a letter to the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in opposition to the application of Nature’s Care LLC for a medical marijuana dispensary was tabled at Tuesday’s Glen Carbon Village Board meeting.
Before the motion to table was made, a motion to approve was made by Trustee Mary Beth Williams and seconded by Mary Ann Smith.
But after discussion, a motion to table the item was made by Trustee Brooke Harmony in order to allow for additional discussion.
“I would actually like to make a motion to table this discussion, give Representative (Dwight) Kay, and Dr. (Ed) Hightower and yourself (Mayor Jackstadt) a chance to sit down… table this for two weeks if the three of you gentlemen can sit down during that time period. I just think there is too much right now,” Harmony said.
Village Board Trustee Ross Breckenridge seconded the motion.
The motion to table called out the date of the next meeting Wednesday, Nov. 12, for the board’s discussion to resume.
Breckenridge added that when the meeting between the three leaders occurs he would like to be in attendance because he has questions he would like to have answered.
The motion was approved with Harmony, Breckenridge, Dave Smith and Mary Ann Smith voting in favor and trustees Jorja Dickemann and Williams voting against it.
Currently, state officials are examining applications for both medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers across Illinois.
The state’s Medical Cannabis Act took effect on Jan. 1, enabling patients with 30 specified illnesses to use marijuana for pain-relieving and healing purposes.
Two dispensaries – from 11 applications – will be located in Illinois State Police District 11, which includes Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Clinton and Bond counties.
Nature’s Care LLC has submitted an application to the state for a dispensary in a one-time pharmacy at Ginger Creek.
Dickemann began the conversation, saying she believes the blame for the current situation the village is in should be on her, the other members of the village board and the mayor since the application has been known about for several months.
“The reason why I asked for this to be discussed is, I was going to say that we are all to blame up here at the board. I hate to do that after you guys tend to be a very rough crowd. I don’t feel good doing that with my co-trustees sitting up here, saying we goofed, but we did goof,” Dickemann said.
She further explained the village received information about the medical marijuana law in May. Despite this, there were no conversations about medical marijuana, which she said she believes was a mistake by her and all involved.
Village Attorney Terry Bruckert said even though the law authorizing the use of medical marijuana went into affect on Jan. 1, it wasn’t until July 15 that the rules and regulations on how to deal with medical marijuana were released, only three days before the application was received.
He continued saying some communities in northern Illinois have approved some zoning regulations in regard to medical marijuana, but Glen Carbon cannot go as far.
“I will say it. I took a look at the information that we had in the context of our code and came up with the opinion that a medical marijuana dispensary is similar to a pharmacy,” Bruckert said.
When the application from Nature Care LLC was submitted, Bruckert said he followed state law and completed the village’s portion of the application.
“We follow the village code when we have somebody that comes in with an application. Again, when that group came to us, we were following state law by filling it out the best we could and giving it back to her, which she puts back into her application to the state. I can’t say no we’re not going to fill it out. I can’t say no to staff and boards who fill it out. The law says we have to fill it out and give it back to her as to whether or not you go there or not,” Bruckert said. “It doesn’t mean we approve it. The state department of financial and professional regulation, they approve it. We don’t approve it – period.”
When the application was submitted, a letter of support was requested, which was not granted as Bruckert felt the board should take the stance of being neutral to the issue since the law is a state law.
“I gave a legal opinion that we should stay neutral on this. It’s a state law, let the state decide how they we want to handle it,” Bruckert said.
For the citizens in attendance, the issue was not medical marijuana but the location of the proposed dispensary in front of the Ginger Creek subdivision.
Homeowner’s association president Joan Humes cited the impact on the children of Ginger Creek and the increased traffic.
“We are not against the compassionate use of medical cannabis act, we are only against the location of the proposed marijuana dispensary in front of residentially zoned areas. This dispensary is only a few feet away from a bus stop and a common ground where the children of Ginger Creek play. The residents of Ginger Creek will share one entrance and exit with this dispensary. This dispensary is located where children use their bikes, walk, meet up with their friends, etc.,” Humes said.
Humes continued, pointing to the population of the village in comparison to the number of people who the dispensary could potentially be serving.
“Glen Carbon is a small municipality with less than 13,000 people. This dispensary has to serve 625,000 citizens. Our small police force and volunteer fire department can’t handle this influx,” Humes said.
Bill Kolling, another resident of Ginger Creek, said the dispensary will have a negative impact on the subdivision and the village as a whole.
“The idea that there is only one entrance into Ginger Creek is an obstruction. It’s an obstruction because every day when I enter and leave there are people walking their dogs, there are people jogging, there are children playing, my son rides his bike up and down the street. It is a danger to us,” Kolling said. “The reason these dispensaries needed to come into existence is because every state pharmacy organization including Puerto Rico has elected not to participate. It is a danger.”
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