Cannabis dispensaries are one step closer to being in Macon County. They should be located in Decatur
CANNABIS DISPENSARIES ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO BEING IN MACON COUNTY. THEY SHOULD BE LOCATED IN DECATUR.
The state has issued 2 conditional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses for Macon County. The two recipients of the conditional license now have 180 days to identify a physical location for the dispensary (and can receive an extension of an additional 180 days). While the Decatur City Council initially voted 6-1 against allowing a dispensary and other cannabis-related businesses, the village of Harristown is one of multiple municipalities in Macon County that opted in and are now poised to have one. Thus, Decatur residents will continue to spend money outside the city to purchase cannabis, provide tax revenue to that municipality, and then return to Decatur to use the cannabis.
THE DECATUR CITY COUNCIL SHOULD REVERSE ITS DECISION AND VOTE TO ALLOW A CANNABIS DISPENSARY
The city of Decatur needs to find new sources of revenue. Decatur is one of the fastest shrinking cities in the United States. Between 2010 and 2020, the population of Decatur shrank 7.4%. Simultaneously, taxes and the costs of government services have gone up. A cannabis dispensary and other cannabis-related businesses will bring a needed source of revenue and jobs to the city.
The city originally estimated the revenue from sales of cannabis products at $206,000 - $360,000 annually. This new revenue can be used to help fund the city's priorities such as neighborhood revitalization and/or assist in providing public services such as police and fire protection. The absence of a dispensary in Decatur means this projected revenue is going to a nearby municipality that allows cannabis sales. Whatever the negative consequences to these legal sales are, they come to Decatur where the cannabis is used.
CITIZENS WANT A CANNABIS DISPENSARY IN DECATUR
On March 17, 2020, residents of Decatur Township (which comprises ~70% of Decatur residents) voted in an advisory referendum on whether the city should allow the sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products to individuals over 21. There were 5,382 ballots casts with 62% voting yes and 38% voting no. More yes votes were cast for a dispensary than any of the three winning city council members received in the April 2021 election.
For an issue to appear on a city council agenda, the City Manager, Mayor, or 4 of 6 City Council members must consent to having the item on the agenda. Currently, only 3 of 7 council members (Cooper, Faber, and Horn) will even agree to having a discussion of a cannabis dispensary on the formal agenda.
Macon County will have cannabis dispensaries. They should be in the city of Decatur. It is time for the city council to reverse its decision and allow dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses such as cultivation centers and processors.