The first cannabis dispensary has opened in Macon County. The next one should be in Decatur
Kudos to the elected officials of Harristown for their decision to allow a cannabis dispensary and thank you to the owners of the new dispensary for your investment in the county and for bringing new jobs to our area. Residents of Macon County have waited four years since adult-use cannabis was legalized in Illinois, and residents who have been prescribed medical cannabis have waited even longer.
THE DECATUR CITY COUNCIL SHOULD VOTE TO ALLOW A CANNABIS DISPENSARY
The city of Decatur is the largest city in Macon County, and it is likely that the largest share of Macon County residents visiting the Harristown dispensary will be from Decatur. Rather than requiring our citizens to drive out of town to purchase a legal product, the city council should reverse its decision prohibiting dispensaries and other cannabis-related businesses. Since adult-use cannabis has been legalized, four years ago the Decatur City Council has taken only one formal vote on whether to allow dispensaries and only one council member (yours truly) has ever formally voted yes for a dispensary in the city.
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 cast with 62% voting yes and 38% voting no.
CITY OF DECATUR WOULD BENEFIT FROM ADDITIONAL REVENUE
Even though between 2010 and 2020, the population of Decatur shrank 7.4%., taxes and the costs of government services have gone up. A cannabis dispensary and other cannabis-related businesses will bring a new and 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.