Champaign County board members will take one more appear at no matter if to enable or prohibit cannabis enterprises in unincorporated places — with an eye toward a feasible compromise.
The Champaign County Board split along celebration lines in its debate more than no matter if to ban cannabis enterprises in rural places. Democrats from Champaign and Urbana opposed the ban, although the county board’s mainly rural Republicans mentioned their constituents do not want a cannabis dispensary nearby.
Republican Jodi Eisenmann singled out the unincorporated town of Penfield, a couple of miles from exactly where she grew up, as a location that is not prepared to deal with complications that a nearby cannabis dispensary could result in. She mentioned the tiny neighborhood has couple of enterprises to start with, and that sheriff’s deputies would have to drive for miles to attain them if an emergency arose. Eisenmann mentioned residents there would come across a cannabis dispensary potentially overwhelming if one particular opened up in their location.
“They do not want it in Penfield,” mentioned Eisenmann. “They do not want it in the unincorporated places. So I’m just asking you who reside in towns, who are not representing these folks, to please cease and listen to what the folks want.”
Eisenmann and other Republicans argued that the county really should wait to see how Champaign and Urbana handled any complications with their cannabis enterprises ahead of enabling them in unincorporated places.
It was Urbana Democrat Pranjal Vachaspati who recommended a compromise.
“Just since we ban dispensaries, it does not imply we have to ban anything associated to the complete cannabis business, suitable?” mentioned Vachaspati. He mentioned he could help such a move, in portion since he believed the likelihood of a dispensary opening in a rural location would be low. (Republicans challenged this, saying that taxes on cannabis enterprises would be reduced in rural places than in Champaign and Urbana).
Banning cannabis dispensaries alone would nonetheless enable cannabis growers, processors and transporters to operate in rural places.
The county board voted to send the cannabis situation back to its Atmosphere and Land Use Committee (ELUC for quick) for reconsideration. The committee, meeting on November 7 with one particular Democratic member absent, had made tie votes on a proposal to permit cannabis enterprises and one more to prohibit them.
Eisenmann, fellow Republican Jim McGuire and Democrat Connie Dillard-Myers voted against the move to send the situation back to committee. But ELUC’s Republican chairman, Aaron Esry, says a compromise could be feasible.
“I consider perhaps each sides have been perhaps guilty of not coming to the middle,” mentioned Esry.
Also on Thursday evening, Pranjal Vachaspati announced his resignation from the Champaign County Board at the finish of the meeting. The pc science engineer says he’s getting his Ph. D. from the University of Illinois this winter, and has accepted a job in Boston with tech giant Google. Vachaspati was appointed to the county board about a year and a half ago, and was elected to a 4-year term in 2018.