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Spanish Daily Journal
     March 16, 2020      #36-000 sdj
 
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Laboratory manager Emily Savage demonstrates how she uses an instrument to photograph cannabis samples at CW Analytical Laboratories, in Oakland, Calif. California’s new rules require testing of marijuana for pesticides and contaminants such as heavy metals, solvents and mold. They also say edible

Kankakee pot sales move 1 step closer 

A un paso mas cerca de poder hacer ventas de

KANKAKEE — Kankakee moved one step closer to allowing the sale of recreational marijuana within its borders.

At Monday’s special Kankakee Planning Board meeting, the panel, by a 7-1 vote, approved a zoning ordinance amendment, which would allow adult-use marijuana outlets.

The zoning ordinance will be discussed at tonight’s combined Budget and Ordinance Committee meeting. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Donald E. Green Public Safety Center.

If the ordinance amendment makes it way through tonight’s committee meeting — as expected — the amendment likely will soon be approved. Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong said Monday she wasn’t sure what the timing might be for the amendment’s approval.

However, the overwhelming vote did not mean the amendment breezed through the plan board.

Two members of the Kankakee County Health Department staff — administrator John Bevis and health promotions coordinator Lindsay Wilson — spoke against green-lighting recreational marijuana.

Bevis noted that whatever money Kankakee realizes in sales taxes, far more will be spent in dealing with drug issues or legal issues.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” he said. “This is not a good idea for the city of Kankakee or the county of Kankakee.”

To date, no other county community has moved this closed to allowing recreational marijuana.

However, Gov. J.B. Pritzker opened the door to marijuana sales statewide, not just for medical use, but recreational use as well.

Recreational marijuana sales becomes legal Jan. 1. This means time is of the essence to get city legislation on the books and a business in place. The city will only allow a retail marijuana business to operate in certain areas of a commercial district or an industrial-zoned district.

While some officials and residents spoke against opening the door to marijuana sales, others spoke in favor, citing revenue for Kankakee and reducing illegal drug sales here.

Vince Williams, Kankakee’s Springfield lobbyist, told board members the city OK’d a medical marijuana growing complex about four years ago — Crestco — and the facility operates in south Kankakee along U.S. 49/52.

In addition to the cultivation center, Kankakee also recently permitted a medical marijuana screening clinic, Peace of Mind Kankakee, along Kennedy Drive.

Williams said with recreational marijuana sales set to take place, the business likely is to grow its staff from eight to perhaps 100.

“Now is the time to be smart about this plant. ... Will you be leaders or will you be following the pack?” he asked. “Don’t be afraid.”

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