Illinois cities continue to debate decision on selling marijuana

It is now legal to smoke marijuana for any reason in Illinois, but many places are locked in a new debate. Should it be legal to sell?

Posted: Feb 13, 2020 7:13 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 11:01 AM

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WTHI) - It is now legal to smoke marijuana for any reason in Illinois, but many places are locked in a new debate. Should it be legal to sell?

It's a question many cities and counties in illinois are asking right now.

Some places like Olney, Illinois are very open to the idea of a dispensary. In fact the mayor told News 10 they've already approved a three percent sales tax, and would welcome a dispensary with open arms.

He said it'd bring in revenue. Lawrenceville feels the same.

However, Robinson doesn't allow dispensaries for recreational use, but they do allow the sale medical marijuana. Newton bans it altogether.

Clark County also has language that bans dispensaries.

Meanwhile, in Marshall it's up to the voters. They'll decide in a referendum on March 17th.

News 10 traveled to the nearest one in Effingham, Illinois to see how it would work. .

There we met Jason Keeton-Stasky. He explained his condition to us.

"I have early stages of degenerative disk disease and i've also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. i'm just pushing 30 years old so i have a lot of pain for being this young," Keeton-Stasky said.

He said doctors prescribed him opioids for nine years. Then he decided to use medical marijuana.

He gets them legally from the Clinic Effingham.

"It really started to bring me back to who I was. I was no longer being angered by very miniscule situations. I was able to focus more and as of now I am not prescribed any prescription drugs whatsoever," Keeton-Stasky said.

Here's how it works. People like Keeton-Stasky go back in a room. They listen to what's called a patient care provider.

They get a dose of marijuana, and are on their way. They can't ingest the drug on the facility at all, and they have to have a medical cannabis card just to get in.

However, pretty soon folks will be able to get marijuana from the Clinic Effingham without a card.

The clinic is building a recreational portion. The city of Effingham recently approved the addition.

"Our phone is ringing off the wall. Seriously. Our phone is non-stop with people wanting to know when we can sell adult-use {marijuana}," Kelley Esker said.

She's the community outreach director for Green Thumb Industries. They own the Clinic Effingham.

Esker's calling it a safe place to buy adult-use marijuana.

"When you're buying it off the streets you do not know what you're getting, and I can tell you that GTI takes great pride in their products and makes sure that all of the third party testing comes back with the highest results," Esker said.

It'll work just like the medical side. Folks 21 and over will be able to buy a limited amount of marijuana product.

It also will have care providers who council folks on what they're buying. Keeton-Stasky doubles as a patient, and one of those providers. He thinks a recreational dispensary is a good idea.

"There are thousands upon thousands of people who simply want the opportunity to walk into a store and buy a product on their own time and try and see how they like it," Keeton-Stasky

The recreational portion of the Clinic Effingham is slated potentially to open some time near the end of February or the beginning of March.

Some we've spoken with fear the sell of recreational marijuana will encourage driving under the influence and other problems.

News 10 reached out to law enforcement in Colorado. Recreational marijuana has been legal there for years. However, police say they cannot properly gauge if they've seen more instance of driving under the influence of marijuana, because they did not specifically track it before the drug became legal.

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