(O’FALLON, IL) – On Monday, September 16, the O’Fallon IL City Council voted to ban the sale of recreational cannabis within city limits declaring cannabis establishments a nuisance.
Residents were not particularly surprised by the decision. O’Fallon is home to many active and retired members of the military because of its proximity to Scott Air Force Base. Mae Brown, a 23-year veteran, spoke during the public comments expressing her desire for a drug-free town.
Proponents of recreational cannabis argue that cannabis has the potential to draw significant revenue to the city. It’s estimated that Illinois recreational cannabis sales will bring in between $50 and $500 million!
That potential revenue wasn’t enough to sway the city council – or O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach.
“It’s not necessarily revenue, it’s what’s the best for our community… which is known to be a safe community, one of good education, and a good place for families to live.”O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach
Kirsten Velasco, board member of Illinois Women in Cannabis was disappointed in the O’Fallon ban.
“It’s just a lack of exposure… we’re still getting used to saying the word ‘cannabis’ out loud… they feel like there might be some unknown risk, so let’s just shut it down because it will make it easier.”Kirsten Velasco, board member Illinois Women in Cannabis
Some O’Fallon residents are still hopeful that the ban could be changed. The council may add an advisory referendum to the March 17 primary election ballot. They have until December 16 to make that move. If they do, residents will have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue themselves – voting whether or not to continue or lift the ban.
The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act allows local communities to decide whether or not to allow cannabis businesses in their community; however, they are not allowed to make any laws prohibiting personal possession or consumption of cannabis – though public consumption will still be illegal after the law goes into effect.