By Joe Boyle
The Worth Village Board has given their approval for the sale of recreational marijuana within the boundaries of the community.
They approved the measure during the village board meeting held Sept. 17. The Cannabis and Regulation Tax Act was signed into law on June 25 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The new law allows for the possession and use of cannabis for Illinois residents ages 21 and over.
Mayor Mary Werner had previously said the owner of the Windy City Cannabis dispensary, 11425 S. Harlem Ave., had contacted her about selling recreational marijuana from their Worth location. Owners of current dispensaries located in municipalities have the first option to be allowed to sell marijuana, according to the new law.
“Our biggest interest in this is financial,” Werner said. “But since we have a dispensary, we are at the head of the table.”
But while the sale of recreational marijuana was approved as part of the consent agenda, some residents voiced their displeasure with the decision.
One resident said there is no specific method to test drivers who have been smoking marijuana. But Trustee Kevin Ryan disagreed.
“There are tests that the police can check to see how much THC is in the system,” Ryan said.
The board’s decision to approve the sale of recreational marijuana was not a total surprise. The Real Estate Development Board approved the proposal this month to allow marijuana to be sold from a designated business or business when the law is enacted on Jan. 1.
Village Attorney Greg Jones said businesses who have dispensaries will have to provide security. The businesses will be required to pay a 3 percent fee, with 1 percent going to the village.
Another resident raised the issue that the presence of recreational marijuana at Windy City will attract an unsavory element. However, a police official at the meeting said that would not be the case.
“We have not had one call about Windy City Cannabis,” he said.
Another resident complained about the sale of marijuana in the village.
“Everyone is ready to grab a dollar,” he said.
Werner addressed the audience by saying that the sale of recreational marijuana has been approved in Springfield and the time to complain about it is over. The village has to decide if they want the additional revenue recreational marijuana sales can bring, Werner said.
“Alsip wants it, Crestwood wants it,” Werner said. “We have zero industry and zero expansion in Worth. We could use the revenue. You look at Chicago Ridge and Burbank. They also want a dispensary. It could be as much as $6 million in revenue a year. They made it legal in Springfield and it’s coming.”
During the public forum, resident Georgia Prendergast, a former trustee, complained about a dilapidated building that is located on the 10900 block of Depot Street in the historic section of the village. Prendergast said the building has been an eyesore since at least 1998.
“The house is dangerous and is hurting our property values,” Prendergast said.
Another person said the structure has attracted kids who play in the building. The person added that a homeless person frequently sleeps on the porch.
“What is the village going to do about it? Nothing has been done since 2003,” Prendergast added.
Werner said that the owner has been given numerous citations. The mayor said that she will look into what needs to be done next.
The village has also been contacted by individuals who would like to bring food trucks along 111th Street and other locations. Trustee Brad Urban had his doubts about the proposal.
“I don’t think it would be a good idea for businesses who pay property taxes,” said Urban, referring to food truck owners who would not be paying a property tax to the village. “I would not let them on our main streets where a lot of our brick-and-mortar businesses are. I would have to take a look at side streets.”
Werner agreed that more research may be necessary regarding food trucks. The individuals who expressed an interest said they would sell tacos and an assortment of other Mexican food. The proposal was tabled for discussion for a future meeting.
A family fall festival will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at Gale Moore Park, 10901 S. Nordica Ave. A kiddie run for ages 3 to 11 will take place at noon.
The Worth American Legion Post 991 and Boy Scout Troop 668 are holding a Flag Retirement Ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at Gale Moore Park. Residents are asked to watch the ceremony that burns U.S. flags that have become tattered and unserviceable.
A business license has been awarded to Matrix Accounting, 11319 S. Harlem Ave. A decision on Adam S. Inc., 6611 W. 111th St., Suite E, has been tabled for another meeting. Trustee Tedd Muersch was concerned that opening at 5 a.m. for the wholesale and candy store may be disturbing to neighbors.