Vote yes for a cannabis dispensary in Decatur
QUALITY OF LIFE FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS USERS AND ADULT CANNABIS USERS WILL INCREASE WITH A DISPENSARY IN DECATUR
A recent newspaper advertisement asking citizens to vote no to a dispensary depicted a young man smoking cannabis in a public place next to a stroller. Presumably, the ad was attempting to stigmatize those that currently use cannabis by showing them committing illegal acts (it is illegal to use cannabis in public places and around individuals under the age of 21).
A more accurate depiction of a cannabis user in Decatur may be an individual who is experiencing debilitating pain or a cancer survivor who is seeking relief from their cancer treatment. Medical cannabis has been legal in Illinois since January 1, 2014. Six years since its legalization, the city still does not have a medical cannabis dispensary. Thus, medical cannabis users who live in Decatur must drive to surrounding cities to purchase products that can help them.
CANNABIS PURCHASED AT A DISPENSARY WILL BE REGULATED AND PROVIDE TAX REVENUE TO THE CITY
Dispensaries can provide cannabis for both medical and adult-use purposes. Having a cannabis dispensary fills a medical void within the city and provides other consumers over the age of 21 a product that is legal for them to use. Purchasing from a dispensary is safer as the products are regulated, as opposed to the purchase of unregulated products on the black market that may be laced with fentanyl.
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 help 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. The absence of a dispensary in Decatur likely means this projected revenue will go to surrounding municipalities that allow cannabis sales.
THERE WILL BE ONLY ONE CANNABIS DISPENSARY IN MACON COUNTY AND IT SHOULD BE IN DECATUR
While the city has over 120 businesses in which individuals can buy or consume alcohol and 85 establishments with video gambling, Macon County is eligible for only one dispensary as of May 1, 2020. The dispensary could be in Decatur or it could be in a nearby town that has already opted-in such as Harristown.
If there is going to be a dispensary in Macon County, it should be in the city of Decatur. Sales tax revenue from an adult-use cannabis dispensary (and increased property tax revenue from other cannabis-related businesses such as cultivation centers and processors) should remain in Decatur for it is Decatur citizens that are likely to make up a significant proportion of the cannabis buyers in our area.
VOTE YES FOR A CANNABIS DISPENSARY IN DECATUR
Two themes are regularly communicated to city council members: 1) don’t raise taxes and 2) don’t cut public services. A cannabis dispensary in Decatur gives the city the opportunity to generate new revenue through sales of a legal product, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for medical and adult-use cannabis users. Vote yes for a cannabis dispensary in Decatur.