Three reasons why the city of Decatur should not opt-out of cannabis-related businesses
1) Jobs can be created by cultivation centers, processors, transporters, and other cannabis-related businesses – Our city is internationally recognized as an agribusiness center with the infrastructure, expertise, and skilled workforce for growing and processing agricultural products. These businesses will need highly skilled tradespeople to build new facilities or remodel older ones and highly trained workers to operate the businesses. Rather than disallowing cannabis-related businesses such as cultivation centers and craft growers, our city can allow further diversification and growth of one of our most prominent industries.
2) Tax revenue from cannabis-related businesses should go to support the police department, public safety pensions, and neighborhood revitalization - Many cite increased criminal activity as a significant reason for why Illinois should not have legalized adult-use cannabis and why cities should opt-out of cannabis-related businesses. If correct, Decatur could see a rise in crime in 2020. Yet, Decatur may have fewer police officers. The council authorized 153 police officers for calendar year 2019. At the end of August, Decatur had 145 officers (5% less than authorized) and total staffing between police officers and potential community liaison officers may not reach 153 in 2020.
3) It is unclear that any of the stated negative impacts of adult-use cannabis will be worse if there is a dispensary in Decatur compared to individuals having to drive to other cities to purchase it - Many arguments have been made regarding the negative effects of legalized adult-use cannabis and individuals are justifiably upset and concerned that cannabis has been legalized. However, effective January 1, 2020, adult-use cannabis will be legal for individuals over the age of 21 in Illinois whether one agrees or disagrees with the law. As it pertains to dispensaries, the key question is which, if any, of these negative effects will be intensified if adult-use cannabis is sold in Decatur compared to having to drive elsewhere to purchase it?