Woodford County is drafting an ordinance to ban recreational cannabis cultivation and sales.
On Monday, the county board’s Public Safety and Conservation, Planning and Zoning commissions discussed implementing restrictions on recreational cannabis sales before the state’s new legalization law goes into effect next year.
County Board member Emily Barker, a nurse from Kappa, gave a wide-ranging presentation at both meetings arguing against recreational cannabis, citing studies done on cannabis’ short and long-term health risks.
“I plead with you today to take a stand and be different, to stand up to Chicago and say, we are not you, and we are different. And we are going to protect the people of our county, and we are not going to legalize recreational marijuana," she said.
CP&Z chairman Blake Parsons said a 3 percent revenue cut from cannabis sales in the county isn’t worth the greater cost to the community’s well-being.
“They dangle the whole money aspect in front of you. It’s hogwash. And then you have a lot of unintended consequences, from having this," he said. "We can't prevent all of that, but we can do the maximum on what we're legally allowed to do. And that's enact something to prohibit the industry from taking root in our county."
Members of the CP and Z approved writing up an ordinance. The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing on the ordinance before it goes to the full County Board for a final vote, likely in October.
There appears to be a widespread consensus on the issue. Speakers during public comment were against allowing cannabis sales and cultivation. Woodford County Board Chairman John Krug said he's only received one message in support, and dozens against it.
The ban would apply only to unincorporated parts of the county. It would not include industrial hemp. Local governments will not have the ability to ban recreational cannabis usage for adults age 21 or older under the new law.