City of Lexington City Council met Nov. 25.
Here is the minutes provided by the council:
The regular meeting of the Lexington City Council was called to order at 7:00 P. M. by Mayor Spencer Johansen in the Lexington Community Center.
Mayor Johansen led the council in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll call was taken to find the following physically present: Mayor Johansen, Alderman Schreiber, Alderman Colclasure, Alderman Richard, Alderman Franklin, Alderwoman Wilson and Alderman Stover. Members of the staff present were: Sue Noland, Attorney Tom Shields, Billie DuBois, Chief Belvery and Dustin Carter. There were also 113 members of the public present.
It was moved by Alderman Colclasure and seconded by Alderwoman Wilson to approve the minutes of the November 11, 2019 meeting. Motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Alderman Stover and seconded by Alderman Franklin to approve the Treasurer’s Report and pay bills in the amount of $53,906.78. Motion carried unanimously.
Public Input: Mayor Johansen started public comments by stating that back in July the council was approached about opening a new business in Lexington, A business that will be legal as of January 1, 2020. This was placed on the agenda July 22nd and it has been on every agenda since then and posted out in front of City Hall, on our website and we got it out as much as we possibly could. We have heard a lot of comments. How dare us, shame on us for even considering this. But we are doing what we are elected to do. An idea was brought before the council, and rather than slam the door in that person’s face, we considered it. We have listened to public comments at several meetings, read your emails, talked to you personally, two public hearings, and he did receive your petitions, and he appreciates all the hard work and dedication that was put in that.
One thing that has bothered him about this, somehow this country has fallen into that agree to disagree has turned into division and anger, we are better than that. We don’t have room for that and we don’t have time for that. So he asks that everyone be respectful of whatever position may be of the speaker, refrain from making any negative or disruptive comments and refrain from talking while they are speaking. Once the public comments portion is over and we go to our council meeting we are not taking any questions or comments and anyone who violates that will be asked to leave.
Dottie Pignotti has spoken before to the council. She wanted to state that her opinion has not changed. She thinks that Lexington is better than this. We need to consider more of the bad aspects of recreational marijuana than we do of the money, money, money this will bring to us. I have had a few minutes to look over your ordinance, and you have adult use recreational marijuana. What does adult mean? In some forms adult is 18 in others it is 21. What do you mean by adult use?
I am really concerned about the direction that Lexington is going. I want it to be a place that people want to move to, want to come and enjoy everything we have to offer and enjoy the citizens that we have here.
I am concerned about the kind of people that recreational marijuana will bring to Lexington. I want you to really, really, really want you to compare your vote to the long, long range vision for Lexington.
I don’t want someone doing business with me or I’m doing business with them that has been affected with recreational marijuana. I don’t want to have my car fixed by someone who may not have all his faculties while he is working on my car.
I’m just very concerned about all of us in Lexington and the growth, please consider you vote very carefully.
Attorney Shields pointed out that in the ordinance, section 3C8, no person under the age of twenty-one (21) shall be allowed to enter an Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensing Organization. Once it is dispensed it is going to be in the sealed containment pouches. Youths are not allowed to use it. That is still illegal under Illinois law. Anyone under age 21 are not permitted to use marijuana out in the open or in a car. That applies to anyone over age 21. As Attorney Shields sees it anyone over age 21 who purchases any cannabis will only be using it within their own household. It is not going to be a commodity that is going to be used out on the street, in a parking lot or anyplace that you can think of outside the home.
Dottie wanted to know how that was going to be regulated? Attorney Shields answered that the police would regulate it.
Dottie wanted to know if our police would be everywhere? All around Lexington all at once? Attorney Shields does not share Dottie’s point of view and does not see that happening. We have at least three of our police officers here right now and each one of them is prepared to enforce any violation of usage of cannabis by anyone under age 21. The exception is medical marijuana and that is already out there.
Dottie wanted to know how the police would know if it is medical or recreational marijuana? Chief Belvery replied that with medical marijuana you will still need to have a card.
Attorney Shields also added that another safeguard is anyone who is purchasing is going to be put into a registry that is available to the State of Illinois. The State of Illinois is going to be involved with the dispensary as much as the City of Lexington, our vantage point is one of violation of zoning and other laws where that dispensary is violating can be shut down. The State of Illinois is going to grant a license and that license can be terminated based upon violations and there is a whole list of violations that could occur. That is for your protection and the public's overall protection. I don’t think that the things that you imagine are going to occur in Lexington. I’ve heard about the children of Lexington but I think, and I know, that a lot of you sitting in the audience, have raised your children properly, and you are not going to end up with kids under 21 trying to get a package out of the hands of a person over age 21 so they can smoke their own maraijuana at home which is the only lawful place that they can do that.
Dottie asked if there would be nothing but a dispensary? No growing or anything else? The answer to that was yes. She then asked what would change that? If this dispensary is just what we need, why don’t we have growing, crafting and everything else? Mayor Johansen answered by saying that he didn’t know that it will. This council has discussed this and this is the option that they have chosen to go right now. He can’t speak for the future council or the future mayor what direction they will go. We have listened to some of the comments and we have limited this to the dispensary and the state gives us that authority.
Dottie asks that we vote no.
Terri Schreiber wanted to address the people in the audience. She is one of the few people here that goes to a marijuana facility. You have to show your ID the minute you get to the door. You are escorted all thru the facility. The people that she meets there are not the people that you are afraid of, they are people like you rather than those in the front row. The people that go there are not the ones that you are afraid and will be coming to Lexington and be hanging out around a dispensary and bringing the bad element when they come. They want to go to a regulated dispensary, people like me, who want to go where they know what they are getting. They know what to expect. They are counseled by a person. When she goes there, they say, “Why are you here?” She says she has permanent nerve damage, she has a spinal cord injury. She has pain, numbness and tingling. So they will educate me. She knows that they have educated the people in the states where it is legal. That’s why the states where it is legal have not seen in increase in teen use. What she knows is from her own experience and she wants all of you to understand that a dispensary is not something to fear.
Diania Frerichs wanted to indicate the impact on everyone in Lexington, our futures, our school, our families, our property values and unfortunately the lives of our community. Many choices for families moving to a small town including Heyworth, LeRoy and Hudson, please don’t take Lexington out of the equation. The issue is not about taxes, or Jon, it should be about Lexington. She wishes Jon would have opened his restaurant rather than a dispensary. She would like to opt out and wait until more information is available on the impact to small towns such as ours. Please make an informed decision. With all the information out there, don’t rush to make a decision.
Laura Strange basically wanted to show support for the dispensary. She is a young mother of three kids and moved to Lexington just to start a family. A dispensary, just like a bar, just like the gambling, would not make her change her mind. This town stands for it’s school, it’s fellowship, it’s community, it’s love for its own. That’s the reason she moved here, that’s not going to change why people come to town with a legal business coming to town.
Linda Benedict She has some concerns and has some things written out. Why take a chance in our town? As a council you are elected by the people and for the people. How many letters and calls have you received and how many people have stopped by your home? She does not know this. I know Judy Thomas posted your names and the wards you serve in the Lexingtonian. Did you at any time publish your name, numbers and addresses so the public could reach out to you?
I have compiled a list of concerns from the residents, and these are the concerns: Why didn’t we have a town meeting about this, Why was there not information included about this in the residents water bills like the windmills were, Why couldn’t this be put on a referendum and let the voices of the people be heard. Maybe you have already done this. Have you canvassed your ward? We have canvassed our town as much as we could. There are still many unanswered questions and concerns. We have concerned condo owners. We have concerned townhouse renters We have concerned homeowners about the prosperity to their homes. We have concerned citizens about their property being devalued. We have concerns about robbery. Concerns about our police department dealing with more problems. The FBI has stated that dispensaries have been robbed at least two or three times. Is this a cash business? Is it a federal crime to deposit this cash in a federally backed bank? Where is this money going to be deposited? And who will be keeping an accurate accounting of this? Federal banks can be charged with money laundering, which is a federal crime. How do we know what the profit could be? And who will be keeping track of and dispenses the 3% tax? Does the town have a liability if something happens that goes back to his business? As parents we are trying to educate our children about the use of drugs. What kind of example do we want to set for our kids by allowing this business in our town. Our local government, which is you, will decide whether to allow this business in our boundaries and the State of Illinois will regulate this business, and we all know what a great job our state is doing.
My question is this, what are the reasons for even considering this in our town? Is it because of revenue? Is it because of added business for a local merchant? Is it because of town vote? Or is it because of Jon Kemp’s reputation of an upscale business owner with a large reputation? At the previous meeting it was stated that if it was anyone else but Jon it would not be considered. Is this business good for our town or a local business man? Have you done your homework to see how the other 10 states with recreational marijuana have been affected? How many Illinois cities, towns, and municipalities have voted on this? And what were the pros and cons? We are in uncharted waters. Please listen to the concerns of our citizens. Please listen to our educators, ministers, victims and survivors. There is not enough concrete information provided so far. So many unanswered questions. Why rush this and take a chance in our town?
Rachel Martinez She is a new resident to Lexington and had just found out about the meeting a few hours before. Her daughter at school heard some kids talking about it. She also is a medical patient. I can’t see what you guys are scared and nervous about, people coming in and people talking about something dangerous and sad.
I had a three year old son who died of stage four brain cancer. He stayed at the hospital for two weeks, he was on numerous opioids, he had brain surgery, they told me they couldn’t do any more, he couldn’t walk. We got him a different medication and he got up out of bed and walked on his third birthday. I understand where that comes from. He was addicted to pain pills and they had damaged his body so to see something a little less stressful. It is a lot better for you. You need to educate yourself on how you are going to help people, how are you going to financially help people even though it is not financial, it’s about your small community. What is going to happen and who for?
Barb Harms We are here tonight to discuss the possibility of the city council's approval for the opening of a Recreational Cannabis Dispensary in our town. We are not here to argue the fact that as of 1/1/20 recreational marijuana sales in the state of Illinois will be legal we are here to say the, majority of the citizens of Lexington do not want this brought to our community. For herself, she is adamantly opposed to adding this business to our town. Our town is not perfect, but this type of business does not add honor, integrity or respectability to our name. Why does our town want to normalize this activity?
We have formed a group named CORP, which stands for Citizens Opposed to Recreational Pot, especially in our town. We are not opposed to medical marijuana when used under a doctor's supervision. You must study the facts, marijuana has been proven to be a gateway drug. All you need to do is google the title, Marijuana a Gateway Drug and you will find all types of professional information and statistics which back that statement.
It is really sad to listen to the stories of personal tragedy from several families here in our town. Stories as to how this has affected their families by death of loved ones who started innocently on marijuana and led to heavier drugs. Some went through rehab with no success had finally death. One family has a grandson in a nursing home who will be a vegetable the rest of his life from drugs, starting with marijuana. Does this happen to everyone, no, but it is a start and the only reason to use recreational marijuana is to get high. It is addictive. There is no other purpose than to experience that high feeling. To open this type of business here in our family town of Lexington will be a devastating example to our young people and bring dishonor to the reputation of a family town. This has the possibility of discouraging young families to move here.
In visiting with the mayor, we stated the fact, not enough people in Lexington know about the cannabis dispensary opening here in Lexington. The way it was explained to us, the information on the recreational marijuana dispensary has been made public through posting on the city's website, posts have been on the city's Facebook page, and two publishing of the city council notes in the Lexingtonian. First of all, some of our citizens do not have a computer, so cannot get on the website or on Facebook and most citizens trust the council to make the correct decisions for our town and do not even read the city council notes.
It has been brought to our attention that other important upcoming items which needed public notification have been added to the water bill statement when they are sent out and therefore all households are aware of the event. Nothing was added to any water bill from July till now, concerning the recreational marijuana dispensary. Which would have been an excellent way to notify Lexington citizens.
Our group, CORP, while canvassing the town, we poll the citizens to get their opinion on this matter. In so doing we found the following:
Secondly, after talking to a lot of people, we could not believe the number of households who knew absolutely nothing about this. This was just our rough pre-guess of citizens we talked to and we felt about 60 to 75% of the people we talked to did not know anything about this. We wondered why more households in the city did not have a complete understanding of what was to take place, if this dispensary was approved by the council. We were amazed, so we continued our investigation.
With that further investigation we found out something very interesting.
In the whole town of Lexington, there are a total of 1,345 households on the Lexington mail routes, including city, country routes and post office boxes. Of that total only 381 households receive The Lexingtonian. That is only about 28% of the total available households that receive it. So let me be clear, 72% of households do not receive the Lexingtonian, so they had no access by paper to the city council notes.
As you can see, using The Lexingtonian as a means to get out important city information is not an effective way to announce policies to the community!
Let me reiterate those numbers 72% of possible total households did not get the information from reading the Lexingtinian. When the country routes are taken out of the equation only 27% of Lexington town residents receive the paper. So, 73% of town residents do not get the minutes of the City Council meetings.
Which completely coincides with our first impression of 60 to 75% of the citizens knew nothing about the possibilities of a marijuana dispensary opening up in our town. In canvassing the town and talking to residents, our first impressions of the number of citizens not knowing about this was accurate.
On Saturday, each of the council members received the packet with the copies of the signatures we gathered, pro and con, on the subject. Your packets were listed Pages 1 through 23, 23 having two 23's and pages 1A through Page 6A. Here is another set of papers for you to add to your packet, pages 25, 26 and 7A, with several more signatures. Also, in the packet was several articles pertaining to marijuana and a lawyer's copy of the way to opt out of this decision.
We did not have enough time to canvas the whole town but here are the total numbers our efforts came up with:
As of today we have 321 votes no, 17 votes yes and 18 votes undecided. As you can see from what we have gathered from the town it is clear that the residents of Lexington do not want this dispensary. We are asking the mayor and the council to listen to the voices on the opinion pages that she has shared and take more time and get more input before you vote to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in Lexington. Another option is to completely opt out of it. You have stated that this has gone on since July, but only in September did we get word of it.
You were elected by the citizens of this town and you have to listen to their voices, either now or during the next election.
She respectfully asks you to consider following up on all the information we have shared with you through the CORP group. Reject this or at least postpone this for more citizen input or put it on a referendum so the whole town can vote yes or no.
Theresa Cuilla She is a Lexington resident and what she is seeing it that it appears to be older folks versus younger folks. Who is in favor of medical marijuana? Now think for a minute, would it be out of the question, to have a pilot program, if all he sold was medical marijuana for a while and move on from there? We know that it is legal. She does not smoke marijuana, she does not want to smoke in the house. My husband uses medical marijuana, he uses the form of little gummy bears. When he went on medical marijuana I got my husband back. This stuff helps people. She didn’t know anything. She has been to a dispensary. She knows what you have to go through. He has a card. You have to carry it with you at all times. She is not allowed at the front door of a dispensary. She has been in the parking lot. The people that come out of those dispensaries are 75 year olds. It helps. The aging baby boomers who are going to die. He can start with a medical dispensary. There’s got to be a compromise of some sort.
Mike Hawkins If medical marijuana helps you or your family member by all means use it. But that is not what they are voting on. They are going to vote on whether or not to have a recreational cannabis dispensary in Lexington. He wants to tell you that high school kids drink beer and they drink vodka. They did not get it from their parents, they didn’t buy it at the grocery store or Freedom, they got it from their 21 year old friends. This is what will happen with the marijuana. He is old and educated and knows exactly how kids think. If it says it is for recreational purposes, kids will say “recreational” is that fun? you bet! The saying is now there is a “New Normal”, well he Loves the “Old Normal”. The old normal was this: We got married, we raised a family. When you said “thank you” to someone they said “your welcome”. That doesn’t happen anymore, now it is “no problem”. That’s part of the “new normal”. And recreation in the “old normal” was reading a book, bowling, golfing, going fishing, that was recreation. Now recreation is going to a store, you’re going to be filmed when you go in the door, filmed when you put your money down, filmed when you take the marijuana, filmed when you walk out. And maybe you will take that potentially dangerous drug and you are going to inject it and you are going to be happy. That is the “new normal” for recreation. Now he can handle that as a parent and grandparent.
I don’t see how this is going to help Lexington at all. They are not going to go to Cedar Street and buy it. You know it and I know it. You are hurting my kids and you are hurting my grandkids. If it is there, if it is recreational, it is a trap.
He’ll tell you one other thing. He tries to go by what would Jesus do? Listen to what Jesus says in Mathew about kids. Anybody who causes one of these young ones to stumble, they would be better off putting a big rock around their heads and jumping in the ocean.
Woe to the people who cause those things to come.
Please, please do what they ask. Give it two years, so we can see what it is like in this town. Why would we want to be the first McLean County small town, with a sterling reputation, to be the first to sell recreational pot?
Cara Sweet She is a mother of two and also is a school teacher so she spends her days with children and she does not have a concern with this business going in. This is going to be a legal substance that is highly regulated just like alcohol and cigarettes, in fact more regulated than alcohol which you can buy at our grocery store across the street.
As far as someone working on your car under the influence, that person would be subject to the same ramifications as if they were under the influence of alcohol.
The issue of making this a town with a dispensary or not. My family was attracted to Lexington because of the tranquility of the town, the pool, the parks. The fact I can send my kids to walk to the library by themselves and I know that they will be safe. I don’t think that having a dispensary here is going to change that. I have confidence our town character is going to be preserved. It is going to be something that is for home use, there is not going to be people walking around on the street. It is something that I am comfortable with. The presence of one in this open minded and forward thinking town. It is my responsibility as a parent to educate my children, as I plan to educate them as I drive by it and my daughter asks “what is that place?” And I have to explain what a cannabis dispensary is. Ok, I will, just like I explained to her about the dangers of alcohol use at a young age. I do not have a problem with that.
Sarah Armstrong She did not find out about this until a week before the last meeting. When she found out she wrote a very emotional letter to the City Council. She was at the Zoning meeting and there was a lot of concern from the elderly across the street that they don’t want it across the street from them. It’s not fair to them. It does not matter if you vote to have the dispensary. She’s not saying to vote to dismiss it. But if we have to have it in town, she thinks the location should be changed. I do not think it should go there. The people next door, they have opinions and that is their home. And they have a right to not live next door, and we should respect that. She also has a concern about it being so close to Main Street. If you do decide to move forward, I believe in 2022 this discussion may come up again if Jon doesn’t get his license this time, I think there may be something better to do is out on the edge of town that would help with taxes and less emotion.
Mary Schreiber After the first meeting she heard a lot of things she had not heard before. She went home and did some research and what she found out that the communities where they had the dispensaries was the crime rate either stayed the same or dropped, teen usage either stayed the same or dropped a little bit because there was so much security in the area where the dispensaries are. The other thing was, because of all the security, property values increased 78%. Some of these things seemed a little bizarre to me. It is not the end of the world, it can do a lot of good for this town.
Debra Haas She is a homeowner in Lexington, a christian, is married to her husband and the mother of three kids. She is confident that this is a good for Lexington. She is not afraid for my children to live by a large dispensary. She is raising her children to be adults that are able to make good choices. Any person who uses marijuana can treat the symptoms of depression, anxiety or something else. She doesn't see that our community should be denied the benefit of marijuana whether it is medical or recreational.
Lisa Friedmansky She lives in Lexington because this is where she was raised. Mr Hawkins was her principal. He knows kids, he knows facts. He knows more about this community than anybody that she has ever known. He knows his stuff, and knows what is best for it. And as a mom of three who raised her kids, knowing that they answer to a higher power, and it is a moral issue, she understands medical is medical, and that is fine. Someone's kid had his hands on alcohol all the time. Spencer, you should know that. Well, you know pot, she’s pretty sure you do, they're going to get their hands on it. And that is going to be on anybody that allows it. She is so adamantly against it. She has young kids, and they have all said “what the heck, mom. Are you serious?” The 18 year old, “I want to try it.” I have kids that are that strong. It’s a small town. Look around. I would be ashamed if this happened in my school.
Chris Sweet He sees a little bit of drawn lines about the issue. He would like to give a quick overview of his family. We have two kids. We moved to Lexington and he loves the fact that he can send his 12 year old son up to the grocery store and if you build a dispensary on that location nothing would change. He has worked for 12 years at Heartland College and Illinois Wesleyan University. Alcohol is actually far more dangerous and sends more students to the hospital. We had an emergency room report that came out a few days ago. Alcohol poisoning has a lot more students overdosing than marijuana. Not even close to the same. I am in favor of the dispensary.
Wendy Ummel She has a different view of the effects of marijuana. She is a social worker and have seen many sides of cannabis use. There are many tendacies to suicide and I’m not saying everyone who uses this developes these. I have worked with students who have used and within a realative short time of use attempted suicide. That is a real thing. A lot of people are upset that alcohol is readily available and marijuana hasn’t been yet. So we will just follow with the alcohol. She doesn’t know how it is going to affect people and how you will separate the two.
Joe Kemp He is the father of Jon Kemp. He has been attending the Council meetings, Planning Committee meetings and the Zoning Board meetings. I have jotted down some notes from those meetings and from letters to the editor of the Lexingtonian. Certain things keep coming up. People have used Nazism, possible money laundering, drugs in Lexington, devil inspired and he believes that at the Zoning Board meeting it was said that should this pass there would be murder in Lexington. We have all heard of fake news but there has also been some incomplete news. In one of the letters to the editor about what was happening in Austin, Texas. “Not to follow in their footsteps with what they are starting to teach young kids in the public school there. Disgusting to the parents and grandparents. I am sick of what is proposed here for a pot or cannabis dispensary just off Main Street. And now this morbid, weird and terribly wrong indecency in Austin, Texas. So wrong and filthy. “ Well, what is going on in Texas? He did a little research because he did not know what they were talking about. The only thing he could come up with is that the Austin School Board has proposed teaching sex education in the Austin elementry school system. What that has to do with the cannabis dispensary, he is not sure. The thing is if this has been proposed and if this is passed the parents of elementary kids in Austin will have the option of “Opting out”.
Yes it is a federal illegal drug but will be legal after January 1, 2020. It is a law that the Feds choose not to enforce. Illinois is the first state to pass legalization by state legislation. Right now it is legal in 10 states that allow legal marijuana. As of November, the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a bill decriminalizing marijuana country wide. Now, if it happens, it will remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which right now is a number 1 drug along with heroin, Meth and LSD. That is the federal law right now. The law also requires courts expunge prior convictions for cannabis offenses. Keep in mind this law was presented and voted on by the House Judiciary Committee. My point is, 10 years ago this would not have been thought of, five years ago this would not have been thought of on a national basis. It is getting there. Step by step, it is getting there.
Yes, cannabis can have an adverse effect on the elementary kids minds, their social skills and their academic skills. Yes, pregnant women smoke marijuana with an adverse effect on their children. But whether the council approves this or not tonight, teenagers are still going to get it from a friend, friends of friends, or adults bringing it home. Just like they did 50 years ago when he was in high school, like they have done it ever since, like they do it now and is going to be done in the future. They are still going to get from somebody. Yes, unfortunately, if the council passes the bill tonight some pregnant women, some expectant mothers will continue to drink alcohol. And some will continue to smoke cannabis while pregnant which is unfortunate. But they have been doing this for 50 years and we must look to the future.
Now as to the kids asking about a dispensary in town and thinking hey that must be ok. If you have concerns with that, then sometime after January 1, you should stop taking your kids to Bloomington/Normal, Chicago, Champaign, Springfield, Peoria because there are going to be dispensaries there also. They are going to ask questions here they are going to ask questions there. There are only going to be 75 granted as of January 1. As of this point there is a 10% chance the Jon will get one of those 75. After a while they will take another look at them and probably grant more licenses.
Kids go into the grocery store, the gas stations and see alcohol and tobacco for sale. Nobody says anything about that. Nobody raises kane about that because they are both legal and alcohol and tobacco are part of our social fabric. Like it or not, marijuana will become part of that social fabric. It will become a bigger part as the years go by. The reason they don’t raise more kane over alcohol and tobacco there has been a lot of statistics going around, and as Alderman Franklin said at an earlier council meeting, if one looks hard enough they can find any report they want on the internet to support their case. Whether it is negative or positive, you can find it. Currently on average approximately 3 million people worldwide die of alcohol related deaths according to the World Health Org. In the United States alone through tobacco use, including smokeless tobacco, approximately 450,000 deaths occur a year related to tobacco. But, they found not one instance, of an overdose related to marijuana. Now the opponents of marijuana might argue that just because it hasn’t happened before doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the future. That’s true. That’s a fair statement. The produce in marijuana that gives someone the high or buzz or whatever you want to call it, the THC. A judge has ruled that in order to get a deadly lethal overdose of THC one must smoke between 10,000 and 20,000 marijuana cigarettes. That would be the equivalent of smoking approximately 1500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes.
Jon had the opportunity to take the little bar and grill next door and turn it into the bar it is today. He had the opportunity to take that business out of town. Bloomington/Normal. He actually thought about it. But like a lot of people in this room, he bleeds purple. Due to his proven track record, he has no doubt that Jon and Megan will make this work. In some sense it is more regulated than an establishment that sells alcohol. They know what to do to make it a class operation and they know what to do to keep it within legal bounds.
When he went in the old establishment he knew 99% of the people in there. Now he goes to the new establishment it is completely opposite, he doesn’t know 99% of the people in there. These are the people from out of town. He draws people from out of town to his establishment. Yes, he agrees, the businesses of Lexington need cannabis now and we think there are people from Lexington that will use cannabis now.
He tried marijuana when he was younger and never tried anything stronger. You hear the term gateway drug. That’s a term, they had to call it something. It is not necessarily a gateway drug all the time. Yes, some people, a lot of people, who are on heavier things, cocaine, whatever, they may very well have started with marijuana. But if they are on those things even without marijuana they were going to be on those things.
He too, has talked to people about when they move to a town, what do they look for when they move to a town? They look at the school, they look at the churches, they look for opportunities for their kids in town, we have all that. He asked them, would it bother you to move to a small town that had a marijuana dispensary? He is not saying he got 100% yes answers, but for the most part they said yes, that doesn’t concern them at all. Depending on your police force, of course. He has great admiration for our police force. He has very good friends and relatives who are police officers. I don't envy the task. I don’t envy the council the task they have to do. I guarantee you our police force, I don’t know on what scale, but they are dealing with it now. Either certain individuals or certain groups, they are aware of it. We aren’t aware of it and don’t want to deal with it. He trusts Jon and Megan to handle things right, to abide by any guidelines laid down by the council. A lot of the arguments that he has heard, not only tonight, but other nights, deal more with the legalization of marijuana in and of itself. That battle has already been fought. The state is going to legalize it. If the state had any concerns that the federal government was going to come down on them then they wouldn’t do it. Yes, the state is going to get part of the federal tax money.
He witnessed a conversation with a younger gentleman. He was astounded that at one time there was prohibition. That alcohol was illegal throughout the entire United States. He couldn't believe it. He firmly believes that sometime down the road, probably not in my lifetime, probably a few generations from now, but someday, similar situation, some younger person will say “really, at one time marijuana was illegal?”
He is sure you don’t have more people voicing support for this because of it's stigma over taxes. Those here in town are not going to use a local dispensary because of that stigma.
We need to get our younger generation credit for their decision making. You have the parent helping these kids make the distinction and making up their minds on these things and we need to get more education on it because there is a lot of information out there.
He has complete confidence in Jon and Megan, no matter what measures the council puts on them, complete confidence they will comply with it, and do so professionally. There is absolutely nothing they would do to put the reputation of this town in jeopardy. You must remember that they too are parents and they would not put their kids in jeopardy.
Carter Coffman He is a 15 year old sophomore at Lexington High School. He cares deeply about his friends. There has been a lot of arguments about how it is ok to have a dispensary in Lexington. It won’t affect the kids. Kids under 21 will not be allowed to buy it. It is going to be regulated. You have to be 21 to smoke it. Mr. Hawkins said it pretty well. He knows kids pretty well, he goes to high school and know his friends. His mom always says, they will do whatever it takes to get whatever they want. That’s the truth. He knows high school kids will smoke marijuana regardless. He stays away from it. He respects his parents. He is a sinful person and makes sinful decisions sometimes. He doesn't always trust himself. He stays away from it. He cares about his friends, He cares about his family. Cigarettes and alcohol, are both legal and have caused impairment and ruined many lives. We don’t know that much about marijuana yet, so it must be regulated. We must say no to a dispensary in Lexington. That doesn't make it safe for high school students. He has friends who smoke marijuana. He doesn’t want that to increase because he has seen how it affects them. It is not good. It is negative on their bodies, on their health. He knows that if he wanted to get some, he knows where to get it. A dispensary will just make it more available. If a dispensary comes and just one high school friend smokes it and their IQ goes down by just one point, is their brain worth the money? Money drives things.
Eva Ann Beasley Grimsley Her grandmother used to say that money is the root of all evil and she now believes that. She also believes in the devil and she wants you to really think hard about what you are doing.
She is going to admit it, she is the one that wrote the article about Austin, Texas, and she is going to tell you what she read: That Austin, Texas is going to teach lower grades in the grade school sex education, and she felt sick. Now today she saw more about it on her phone on the internet. It's sickening. Would we stoop that low to let that happen here? I know that is not your decision to make, but this irritates when we hear another bad thing that is turned into what we don’t want. She believes if people need this medically, let them have it. But get it somewhere else. She can’t say it enough, we don’t need it here. Lexington is a family town with that pride. We don’t want all these other towns people coming here for pot.
It is going to cause horrendous parking problems as there are only two spaces in front of that building. They will be taking up other spaces that belong to the homes around there and the apartment building.
If more people would have known about this they would have been here tonight. She was out tonight and ran into about 10 people that had no knowledge whatsoever. They were astounded but they didn’t have time to come tonight.
She wants you to really think hard about what you are going to vote on tonight. Just because it is no tonight doesn't mean it is no forever. Just sit back and watch the other towns and see what happens there.
She knows someone who used to live in California, they had three dispensaries in that town and they kicked them all out. Because they did have murders, people trying to break in the dispensaries and other bad things happen. I don’t want us to be in that position where we put something through that we are very very sorry for.
Judy Thomas She stated that the council has said they have been talking about cannabis since April or May but it did not get published until September because she reads the City Council minutes published in the Lexingtoian every two weeks. September was the first time she saw cannabis mentioned. In that article it said you could go to City Hall and give our input or our opinion after research. While she was in Texas last winter my brother found an article showing that it does do harm, and she made a copy and took it to the mayor. The reason she started the research is the harm to young people's brains, young men’s brains do not develop until they are 25. If they start smoking at 21 there is going to be brain damage. Research it, you will find scientific research. It shows that.
Then she walked into city hall for another reason and she met the mayor. It said in the article she should come and give her opinion, her opinion is she would vote no for cannabis coming to our town. His reply to me was, “You have to keep an open mind.” She got home and thought the mayor just dismissed my no because she has to keep an open mind as if she didn’t say no with an open mind. So she wrote a letter to the paper letting people know that there was cannabis coming to town. The question that she asked that day, a very simple letter, not nasty, does Lexington need money so bad that they have to sell drugs to get it? That has never been answered.
They have done their research. How much money would they get? If Jon makes a million dollars, the tax revenue from a million dollars, take 3% of a million dollars, the city gets a whooping $30,000. Come to find out that most of that money is going to increase police officers. Ask Alderman Richard how many police officers they have added in the last year. A lot of that money is going to salaries, pensions and stuff like that A lot of that money will be wasted on the police force.
She has been to all the meetings and knows what wasn’t answered. Why weren’t some of the questions answered? She asked the city attorney if he wrote the ordinance? He never answered.
City Attorney Shields answered with asking her to be factual. He said the ordinance was an Illinois Municipal League ordinance. He did not write it. He reviewed it.
Judy stated that was more that he said the last time. To which Attorney Shields replied that he did not believe it was.
Judy says that she asked Jon if they would be selling medical marijuana from the dispensary? She didn’t really get an answer there either so she went online to the Green Solution and found a list of products, including cigarette papers. Jon said they would not be smoking in the Upper Tap. Then there is the edibles and she says there is no way you can control that. People can put the pills in their pocket and pop those pills all night long and Kemp cannot control it.
Another reason she votes no, you have medical side and recreational side and you go back and forth, two different products altogether but it all combines now into one. We go to the drug store to get our blood pressure pills or our medical pills and those that are on medical marijuana have a place they can go to get their marijuana as needed. They go to Bloomington anyway to shop or whatever. We are not going to deny any person on medical marijuana by saying no.
The only thing we are going to do is protect our children, protect our school and protect our town. She did not call Jon a nazi, her daughter wrote that.
She will address the council and you are all elected. It was not until November that Jon presented his formal business plan to the council. We have over 300 people who are asking you to vote no.
Mayor Johansen replied to what Judy said. It did happen in front of City Hall. She did ask him and his response was “ That we as a council have to keep an open mind.” That is what he said to her and she said that he said “She had to keep an open mind”, that is not what he said but he is not going to argue with her if that is what she heard, that was his response.
Alderwoman Wilson addressed the fact that council members were not in attendance of the Planning and Zoning meetings and that is true. That was recommended by our legal council. We were not allowed to attend, not that we didn’t want to.
Discussion/Vote to Accept Bid for Sale of Surplus Property 105 N. Cedar Street
Mayor Johansen stated that the bids for this property, 105 N. Cedar Street, were opened today at 3:00 p.m., like it was posted. We had one bid for $5,000.00. That is the property where old City Hall sat.
Motion was made by Alderman Stover and seconded by Alderman Colclasure to accept the bid of $5,000.00 for the property at 105 N. Cedar Street. Motion carried unanimously.
Discussion/Vote on Ordinance 2019-9: An Ordinance Amending the Zoning Ordinance for the City of Lexington Regarding Adult-Use Recreational Cannabis Businesses
Alderman Willson wanted to say that for her it has never been about money. She does not base her vote on money. She did not on the windmills and she would never on this.
It is a legal right in the State of Illinois, if somebody opens a business, we have to look at if we would allow it in our town.
She takes offense that we, the council, did not do our homework. We have done outside research and have heard both sides. She has talked to over 100 people in the town and overwhelmingly support the cannabis dispensary. Just because people yell louder than others doesn’t mean their vote counts more than anybody else's.
Motion was made by Alderwoman Wilson and seconded by Alderman Stover to approve Ordinance 2019-9: An Ordinance Amending the Zoning Ordinance for the City of Lexington Regarding Adult-se Recreational Cannabis Businesses. Motion carried with 5 yes and 1 no.
Discussion/Vote on Ordinance 2019-10: An Ordinance Approving a Conditional Use Permit for an Adult-Use Recreational Cannabis Business for Property Located at 112 N. Cedar St., Lexington, Illinois
Alderman Colclasure stated that he has received phone calls, emails and personal visits and he has listened intently. What he has heard tonight there is quite a difference in demographics. He is being asked by this ordinance to set aside what he has seen in law enforcement. He cannot set aside what he has seen to support this ordinance. Is it a gateway? He does not know. He thinks it is wrong and he will not support it.
Motion was made by Alderwoman Wilson and seconded by Alderman Stover to approve Ordinance 2019-10: An Ordinance Approving a Conditional Use Permit for an Adult-use Recreational Cannabis Business for Property Located at 112 N. Cedar St., Lexington, Illinois. Motion carried with 5 yes and 1 no.
New Business: None
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Johansen reported that Casey’s is moving forward.
Checkers is expected to open around Christmas.
Building/Insurance: Alderman Franklin reported that the survey was finished up by the old Water Plant
Finance/TIF: Alderman Stover reported that we are towards the end of the audit and he is working on the levy.
Water/Sewer/Sanitation: Alderwoman Wilson reported that everything was ordered for the water main project except for the pipe as they did not want it setting outside.
The water truck has been sold and that money has been allocated for more meter replacement. The meter replacement project is still ongoing, there is about 90 left to buy.
Street/Alley: Alderman Colclasure reported they are working around the condos on Walnut Street and had to repair the snow plow blade.
There being no further business a motion was made by Alderman Franklin to adjourn at 9:11 p.m. Motion carried by unanimous voice vote.