Medical marijuana is a “fascinating new endeavor” and a “new frontier” in Illinois, Forest Park’s Springfield lobbyist, Matt O’Shea, told the village council Monday night.

The state’s passed new pot dispensary laws last year with a sunset date in 2017 — in case things don’t work out. 

But judging from other states, the medical pot industry will only get bigger. Forest Park is correct to take the zoning code steps now to position itself to be a first mover in this industry.

Are there people in town who won’t like it? Yes. 

Commissioner Rory Hoskins told the council his neighbors are equally divided on the issue. Some understand the value of pain relief to people with chronic conditions such as cancer. Others think medical cannabis is a slippery slope that will lead to decriminalization. 

The village will have to decide whether a 1 percent sales tax benefit and 3-7 local jobs created is worth the public ire of those who oppose medical marijuana.

It’s a subject that stirs strong opinions and as Commissioner Chris Harris also pointed out, people should have a voice. 

He’s right, and that’s democracy. 

Attorney Michael Durkin told the council any zoning steps taken will trigger public hearings. A zoning board hearing allows for public comment.

It’s safe to say most Forest Parkers have never attended a ZBA meeting. But as our town’s community newspaper, we will make sure to alert you in advance and accurately report on all public comments your fellow Forest Parkers bring to the discussion.