County Board Member Touts Upside Of Marijuana, Board Still Says “No”

Paul Todd tried to convince his fellow Washington Board members that allowing marijuana could bring income and jobs for county residents.

The board heard his pitch for the allowing recreational marijuana-based businesses, which will be legal in Illinois January 1, except in jurisdictions that “opt out”, at its board meeting last Tuesday.

But when it came to a vote, only Dennis Schemonic and Kate Muenter voted with Todd to allow marijuana based businesses. Other board members Dave Meyer, Vic Shubert, Dale Ibendahl, Eugene Lamczyk, Gary Suedmeyer, Larry Unverfehrt, Eric Brammeier, Leo Barczewski, and Doug Bening voted in favor of opting out of allowing marijuana. Board members Letisha Luecking and Brian Klingenberg were absent.

In his pitch for allowing marijuana businesses, Todd tried to dispel assumptions and prejudices against the drug. He said that marijuana is no more a gateway drug to harder drugs than alcohol is to alcoholism. In Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal, the number of prescriptions written and deaths from opioids has decreased, and the number of Driving Under the Influence (alcohol or drugs) has not increased, he reported.

“We could all benefit, with very little risk,” Todd said.

With the county anticipating layoffs in the future because of income shortfalls, Todd encouraged the board to approve a possible revenue stream through marijuana businesses.

He said that if the board votes no to marijuana because of the “general welfare of the citizens”, it should also close bars and ban gaming machines.

Read full details on the meeting including reports from various committees and departments, in this week’s issue. 

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