YORKVILLE – A discussion about Kendall County allowing recreational marijuana sales with all members of the County Board could be happening within the next few weeks.
Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder said he is anticipating the full-board discussion regarding whether the county will opt in or out of recreational marijuana sales to come during the county's next committee of the whole meeting. He said he has been seeing a lot of positive press on the issue coming out of Springfield, but he also wants to consider what has been happening in states and communities that previously legalized recreational marijuana and what this could mean for affected local agencies.
“I want to make sure that we’re looking at all of the facts surrounding it,” Gryder said.
Gryder's comments come as members of the county's law, justice and legislation committee during their Aug. 12 meeting forwarded the discussion line item to a committee of the whole agenda subject to Gryder's call. The matter was not called for the Aug. 15 committee of the whole meeting.
Committee member Audra Hendrix, who represents District 1, said during the Aug. 12 meeting she thought it would be wise for the county to not opt out of those sales because the affects of the legalization will be felt by the county regardless and she doesn't want the county to create their own unfunded mandate by opting out of those sales. She said she personally would like to see the county allow the sales so those revenues can go toward other facets of the county, including drug education, law enforcement, public health department and drug court.
"I think it would be nice to have that money to put it where it’s going to need to go to work, because we’re not going to change behavior, so we might as well just come to grips with it," Hendrix said.
Committee member Judy Gilmour, who represents District 1, said she was disgusted with Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker when he signed the bill into law in June, making adult use cannabis legal starting Jan. 1. As a teacher, she said, she had a D.A.R.E. officer come into her classroom for years and the county's Juvenile Justice Council also try to get the message to kids that drugs are bad and to stay away from them.
"Even though they’re 21 and older, I don’t want to make it any easier for people in this county to go buy marijuana because there’s nothing good about it, it’s not worth the little bit of revenue that we may get and that’s my stand on it," Gilmour said.
Gryder said on Tuesday, Aug. 27 that it doesn't necessarily mean legalizing the sale of adult use cannabis would be the best thing for the county just because it's becoming more popular for states to legalize it. He said he also is keeping in mind that a 3.75% sales tax that the county could impose on weed products could also help finance any strains felt by county services like the health department or sheriff's office as a result of the state legalizing the recreational use of the drug starting Jan. 1.
“I’m keeping an open mind at this point,” Gryder said.
The next committee of the whole meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at the county office building, 111 W. Fox St.