Limiting pot sales

Opinion: Editorials

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Working quickly in September to send a message to recreational marijuana entrepreneurs, Oak Park's village board hung out the "Open for Business" shingle often touted by Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb. The effort was also intended to increase Oak Park's chances of winning multiple state dispensary licenses from a limited pool.

In a 4-3 vote the board majority set aside a unanimous recommendation from the village Plan Commission and decided pot dispensaries would be allowed in commercial spaces anywhere in the village without a special-use permit or hearing from the board.

Now there may be some second thoughts. 

We're hearing the item may return to the village board and that at least one or two trustees may be rethinking their initial vote. There is also some pressure being brought to bear from two sources we've heard from. Oak Park Township has informally asked the village board to require special-use permits for pot dispensaries. That's an unusual step for one elected body to take toward another. And leaders of the North Avenue District business group are lobbying for, at least, special-use requirements and possibly for strict limits on how many and where such dispensaries might be located along the village's northern border.

Recreational marijuana is about to be legal in Illinois. We support that for several reasons. Chief among them is the damage done over decades as a broken and racist criminal justice system lowered the boom on black and brown communities in enforcing pot laws. 

That said, selling marijuana is not the same as selling socks. Applying a standard similar to the licensing and approval process employed in granting a liquor license seems appropriate to us. Over the decades — since the 1970s really — Oak Park has gotten less fearful of where liquor could be sold. There used to be strict rules on how many liquor licenses could be located on a single street, how many seats a restaurant had to have to serve alcohol. As we've gotten more confident, we've eased up on those limits. It is from that point of confidence that we should start licensing pot sales.

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Reader Comments

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Jim Egeberg  

Posted: November 27th, 2019 4:32 AM

Golly, refer madness abounds. People ain't going to be hanging out in front of a pot store like a liquor store. It sounds kind of odd that the business's are afraid of them people coming from over the border to buy pot. And, how many licenses will the State allow? The reality is that at best the one store on Lake Street will be all that ever will be in Oak Park. Come on people. Don't flip flop.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 26th, 2019 9:50 PM

Chi Lisa I am going to assume when you say the propaganda over the last 50 years you are not talking about the glamorous commercials for cigarettes and now the very expensive cost of cigarettes for taxes. I am confident that you are not talking about alcohol sales and the many lives it as taken and the MADD movement that made so many changes. I am confident in your thinking that you are in total disagreement with research experts on the use of cannabis and are in agreement that it is a very helpful drug and does nothing to the brain or cause any long lasting damage. I am confident that the move to legalize cannabis is about taxes and not about people being unfairly incarcerated for the sale of cannabis because what it does not mention is that people who are selling cannabis on the corner or for delivery are not only selling cannabis so that would be propaganda to support the legalization of cannabis. I am not against the sale of cannabis although lets not use propaganda and think it is has no harm to it. It is about taxes and local government can easily say the State says it is legal so lets hope aboard and grab some tax money and forget about scientific research done on the effects it does to the mind and possibly some of those effects can be helpful

Chi Lisa  

Posted: November 26th, 2019 8:52 PM

Honestly, they need to get over the propaganda they have been fed for the last 50 years and move on with life already

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