Once again, the Rantoul Village Board has voted against allowing a cannabis business to open in their town.
The village board rejected a proposal Tuesday night to allow applications to open a cannabis growing facility in Rantoul, with Mayor Chuck Smith breaking a 3-3 tie vote.
It’s the third time Rantoul trustees have voted on relaxing their cannabis business ban. In February, a similar proposal failed on a 0-4 vote, with two trustees and Mayor Smith absent. Smith says legalizing recreational cannabis isn’t popular in downstate Illinois.
“And you look at the number of times it’s failed in communities throughout — especially in central and southern Illinois — this thing has failed over and over,” said Smith. “And I do believe this state needs to reconsider their position on cannabis growth in the state of Illinois, and also the sale of that product.”
The vote was requested by Rantoul native Blake Schilb, who told the village board last week that he only wants to open a growing facility, not a dispensary as Smith says some residents fear.
Before the vote, twelve people addressed the Rantoul Village Board on the cannabis issue. Two voiced support for allowing the growing facility to open, including Toni Shield. She said she understand the benefits of medicinal cannabis, both as a nurse, and a breast cancer patient.
“I can honestly say as a patient and as a nurse, that medical cannabis has helped me tremendously through this,” said Shield. “I have not had to take any pharmaceutical drugs for pain, nausea, appetite, anxiety, motivation or sleep.”
But others who spoke said they feared any change to Rantoul’s cannabis business ban would lead to more cannabis being used in their community.
Trustee Felicia Weathersby, representing Rantoul’s District 1, noted the religious statements made by some of the cannabis opponents.
“First of all, I’m a Christian,” said Weathersby, who made the motion to bring the cannabis proposal up for a vote. “Secondly, I’m a businesswoman. Thirdly, I hear the concern from constituents within the village of Rantoul. But in my own understanding of cannabis growing, I believe there is too much negativity around that process.”
Mayor Smith says he thinks it will be a long time before the issue of allowing local cannabis businesses comes up again.