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La Grange

La Grange officials begin discussion on sale of cannabis

LA GRANGE – The village of La Grange is considering enacting rules to coincide with the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act signed into law by Gov. J. B. Pritzker.

At a recent meeting of the La Grange Village Board, trustees initiated discussion of imposing local taxes on the retail sale of cannabis.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act takes effect Jan. 1, 2020. Unlike medical cannabis, the new legislation allows municipalities to prohibit recreational marijuana facilities if it chooses to do so.

Trustee Beth Augustine said that knowing the village has the ability to opt in or opt out of allowing the sale of cannabis is significant.

“It’s interesting for me because I have a going-to-be second-grade son, so he will grow up in an environment where marijuana is legal,” Augustine said. “It’s not like where we grew up where alcohol had been legal for a long time. It’s going to give me great concern where we go with this.”

Cindy Frymark, president of the Drug Free Coalition of Lyons Township, stressed that safety concerns associated with marijuana use remain despite the change in the law.

“I want to make the point that simply because society has become accepting of marijuana’s use and it is now legal does not make it safe,” Frymark said. “Cigarettes and alcohol, both legal, have caused great harm in society as well as people’s health. [They] have ruined many lives. We believe marijuana will do the same.”

Frymark said there is no level of prevention to mitigate the damage that could stem from the legalization of recreational cannabis.

“We have no equivalent .08 for marijuana as we do for alcohol,” she said. “The science is just not there.”

Frymark added that it is up to local government to look out for the health and well-being of residents.

In a 7-0 vote, trustees gave the village staff the authorization to study the topic.

The village completed a similar process in 2013 to review zoning provisions related to medical marijuana dispensaries.

Further discussion on the topic is expected to take place at the board’s Aug. 26 meeting.

In other business, the board:

• Approved an additional Class A-1 liquor license for Forbidden Noodles, 50 S. La Grange Road.

• Awarded a contract for leaf hauling and disposal to Rainbow Farms Enterprises. The vendor’s quote amounts to $630 per load.

• Awarded a contract for the village’s crack sealing program to S.K.C. Construction.

• Agreed to pay an estimated $84,000 to Suburban Concrete for the village’s 50/50 sidewalk replacement program.

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