Bloomington’s cannabis task force to begin its work Thursday

(WJBC) — Bloomington’s cannabis task force will meet for the first time Thursday night aiming to gather information and recommend whether the city council should allow the sale recreational marijuana in the city.

Our news partner WJBC reports, the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Miller Park Pavilion, is being held just three days after the city council in nearby Decatur decided to prohibit cannabis sales despite a new state law allowing recreational marijuana use.

If the council legalizes marijuana sales, elected leaders would also decide whether to collect taxes on the purchases, and if specific areas of Bloomington should be zoned for cannabis dispensaries.

Last week, the Bloomington council approved Mayor Tari Renner’s slate of 10 task force members despite criticism from council member Kimberly Bray. She claimed Renner’s picks were biased in favor of allowing cannabis sales.

Julie Emig, one of two council members appointed to the task force, promised the panel would take an “even-handed” approach on the key issues.

The other council representative is Jenn Carrillo, who first proposed the task force. On her Facebook page, Carrillo said accumulating tax revenue or creating tourism are not the main benefits of the new cannabis law. Rather, she said, “it gives us a chance to begin to right past wrongs and bring up those who have been unfairly criminalized by the failed war on drugs.”

Also serving on the task force are Downtown Bloomington business owners Jan Lancaster and De Urban, addiction specialist Deb Carter, John Walsh of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Illinois State University Instructional Assistant Professor and Black Lives Matter activist Olivia Butts, President of the Bloomington-Normal Chapter of the NAACP Linda Foster, Bloomington Assistant Police Chief Greg Scott and Police Sgt. Aaron Veerman.

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