Increased revenue and job creation are top reasons for cannabis dispensary and related businesses in Decatur
On Tuesday, March 17, residents of Decatur Township (~70% of all Decatur residents) will be voting in an advisory referendum on whether the city should allow the sale of cannabis and cannabis-infused products to individuals over 21. Below are some of the top reasons I will be voting yes to a dispensary and encourage you to vote yes.
NEW CANNABIS RELATED BUSINESSES CAN INCREASE REVENUE AND DIVERSIFY OUR CITY’S ECONOMIC STRENGTHSIn recent months, the city council voted to increase the fees the city collects for the issuing of building permits and to maintain an elevated utility tax rate. Rather than increasing fees for individuals that invest in their properties and maintaining elevated tax rates that impact large numbers of residents, the city should seek ways for the economy to grow through the creation of new businesses.
The city of Decatur estimated the revenue of sales from cannabis products at $206,000 - $360,000 annually. This new revenue can be used to fund the city's priorities such as neighborhood revitalization and/or assist in providing public services such as police and fire protection and infrastructure improvements including roads. Furthermore, the absence of a dispensary in Decatur likely means this projected revenue will go to surrounding municipalities that allow cannabis sales.
Cannabis, including hemp varieties, is an agricultural product that a century ago was a widespread crop in Illinois. The seeds are crushed for CBD oil and the meal used as animal feed, the stalk can be used as building material, and THC can be extracted from the leaves. Decatur is internationally recognized as an agribusiness center with the infrastructure, expertise, and skilled workforce in growing and processing agricultural products. By allowing cannabis-related businesses, the city gains revenue from the sale of cannabis products and diversifies and grows one of our most important industries.
NEW CANNABIS-RELATED BUSINESSES CAN CREATE JOBS
Cannabis-related businesses create jobs for construction workers to build new facilities or remodel older ones and require workers to operate the businesses. While discussion has focused on whether Decatur should allow retails sales, cannabis dispensaries require other businesses such as cultivation centers, processors, infusers, and transporters. Such businesses can bring jobs to a city that has lost workers over the past decade, and could represent a significant investment to parts of the city where empty buildings are currently found.
Allowing cannabis-related businesses could help reverse the city’s long-term trend of decreased equalized assessed values and increased property taxes. From 2009 to 2018, Decatur has seen its total taxable assessed value decline 11%. Simultaneously, property tax collected has increased 23%. Cultivation centers and craft growers require large buildings (up to 210,000 sq. ft. and 14,000 sq. ft., respectively), and occupancy of our empty buildings can help offset reductions in equalized assessed values.
IN SUMMARY - A cannabis dispensary and related businesses can provide new revenue for the city, create jobs, and increase the quality of life for medical and adult users. I ask you to vote yes for a cannabis dispensary in Decatur.
CONTACT THE MACON COUNTY CLERK FOR VOTING INFORMATION
For more information about the election including how to vote early, please visit the Macon County Clerk’s Office website (https://www.co.macon.il.us/voting-election-information/) at or call 217-424-1333.