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Troy Mulls Compromise On Legal Weed

By Steve Rensberry, Editor

Alderman on the Troy City Council along with administrators and local residents weighed in on a proposed ordinance regulating cannabis sales in Troy at a workshop on Sept. 30 at city hall.

As presented, the ordinance would limit the number of adult-use cannabis business establishments to just one, and would deny permits to a number of related businesses, including cultivation centers, craft growers, infuser organizations, processing organizations, and transporting organizations.

While the law is still in its infancy, as of Jan. 1, 2020, qualifying businesses in the state will be able to sell cannabis to adults 21 years of age and over for private use. Local municipalities, however, maintain some limited regulatory ability with respect to its use in public places and the number of establishments it allows.

Troy Mayor Al Adomite, along with City Attorney Fred Keck, said spent considerable time going over details of the new law. Both compared it to the laws regulating gaming and gambling establishments, and to those pertaining to the sale and use of alcohol. But there are differences. Unlike gaming, where establishment are highly restricted on where they can be located, cannabis businesses do not have the same limitation exception as it pertains to signage.

The proposed ordinance would, however, requires any establishment selling cannabis to seek a special use permit before approval.

Aldermen present included Katie Little, Tony Manley, Troy Turner, Bonnie Levo, Debbie Knoll, and Nathan Henderson, with aldermen Sam Italiano and Dan Dawson absent. Manley was the lone voice on the board who spoke in opposition to allowing sales in the city, with Adomite indicating that Italiano, though absent, was not likely in favor as well. Others on the council spoke in favor of it, and of sending the proposed ordinance to the Planning Commission for further consideration.

No official vote was taken at the workshop.

Both Adomite and Keck cited extensive work done by the Illinois Municipal League on the subject, with a 30 page FAQ document from the IML made available with the agenda for consideration and reference.

Public input from three citizens, a couple and a gentleman, were split on the matter.

Keck cautioned that even though Troy may vote to approve the sale of cannabis by approved establishments, all they are doing at the point is setting up the framework and that there is no guarantee Troy will even see such an establishment any time soon.

Adomite cited a limitation allowing only 500 businesses in the state to sell recreational cannabis, as the law stands, echoing Keck in the unlikelihood that such dispensaries will be popping up all over the place, even in Madison County.

The discussion Monday included several questions about enforcement and how the police would respond to violations or handle such things as DUIs involving marijuana.

Troy Police Chief Brad Parson said the state’s DUI system is actually fairly good in that respect, with “under the influence” already pertaining to any kind of substance and not just alcohol, including marijuana and pharmaceuticals. As with alcohol, under the new state law drivers will not be held responsible for slight or trace amounts of THC in their system, but will still be subject to sobriety tests and saliva or other “chemical tests” deemed appropriate if there is reasonable cause to suspect heavier use or intoxication.

Adults purchasing recreational marijuana in the state will be allowed to possess and purchase up to 30 grams at one time, while out-of-state visitors will be allowed half that amount.

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