City Council cannabis moratorium vote coming Tuesday

Hannah Shillo, Associate News Editor

The Charleston City Council will vote on an ordinance that could establish a moratorium on cannabis business establishments at their 6:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday.

The proposed moratorium would allow the council to discuss whether to prohibit cannabis businesses in Charleston or permit and regulate those businesses as provided by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax act, according to the finding of fact for the ordinance.

The ordinance states that the city has the authority to enact reasonable zoning ordinances for cannabis businesses, govern the time, place, manner and number of cannabis businesses, regulate on-premises consumption of cannabis at or in a cannabis business and prohibit or significantly limit a cannabis business’ location.

The moratorium would allow the city of Charleston to study the introduction of cannabis businesses throughout the state of Illinois and develop the appropriate regulations consistent with the intent of the city’s zoning ordinance.

The moratorium would also allow the city to study the environmental impacts of cannabis businesses and review and correct any errors in the current regulations that do not explicitly contemplate cannabis businesses. 

If approved, the moratorium would remain in effect until May 31, 2020 or until new ordinances governing cannabis businesses are adopted, whichever happens first, the finding of fact said. 

Brandon Jones, junior psychology major, said he approves of the moratorium.

“That’s like the safe route, so I agree with that to an extent,” Jones said. “I can see why some would be against it; they want to buy it, but that’s not stopping people from buying it now. They can just ban it and then take it away, that’s what temporary means.”

Jesse McDonald, sophomore communication disorders and sciences major, also approved of the moratorium and said it was a smart decision.

“You don’t want to rush into anything right off the bat,” McDonald said. “Granted, I know there are a lot of college kids that are going to be upset about that, but it’s understandable for (the council) to want to (prohibit) it so they can get everything regulated and set in stone before they allow it.”

Kenyatha Wilson, freshman biological sciences major, said he is opposed to the moratorium because it would make obtaining cannabis difficult for some people. 

“They shouldn’t ban it because it’s going to be legalized and if (Illinois lawmakers) thought it was going to harm any communities, they wouldn’t make it legal,” Wilson said. “They’re already legalizing it so you might as well let everybody purchase it how they want to purchase it.”

Jazmine Brown, sophomore athletic training major, said she thinks the council should vote against the moratorium.

“(Cannabis businesses) can hurt, but that’s just like everything else,” Brown said. “As long as we educate ourselves on (cannabis), it doesn’t seem to do anything because they’re going to make it legal anyways. I think people will still do it anyways so why not make it legal so you can at least control what’s going on?”

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]