(WSIL) — This week, Herrin and Carbondale leaders will discuss the sale of recreational marijuana.
City leaders aren’t expected to vote on any plans, but they want to get perspective on businesses possibly operating within city limits, once recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois next year.
"This is really the first public kick-off discussion on the topic," said Herrin Mayor Steve Frattini.
Mayor Frattini says Monday’s agenda item on recreational marijuana isn’t to make decisions. He says right now, leaders and the public need to discuss how they feel about allowing dispensaries inside city limits.
"We are always looking for new revenue streams in order to help lighten the load for the taxpayers on the other types of obligations that we have to meet," said Frattini.
Frattini says with more revenue often comes more cost. But he says all options need to be weighed. Frattini says studies from other communities show a higher cost for police agencies and emergency rooms which need to be discussed further.
Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry agrees.
"We are going to tax it, but I think the money that we get from it will go back to enforcing it and policing efforts," said Henry.
Both mayors say people are already using the drug. Regulating will make it safer by having FDA-approved products and could curb another issue plaguing southern Illinois.
"There is a lot of information out there that this can help folks with opioid addiction. We get the right people running the dispensary, we may be able to break this pattern of illegal drug use," said Henry.
Both mayors strive to add more businesses but agree, this needs to be talked about much further before any decisions are made.
Herrin will have open discussion at Monday’s council meeting. Carbondale will talk about it Tuesday night.