Village Commissioner Chris Harris will host a Facebook Town Hall to discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana in Forest Park on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m.

“I’ve been getting mixed reviews about a potential medical marijuana dispensary in Forest Park,” Harris posted. “I would like to hear what you have to say.”

Harris asked if the village would hold a public meeting where residents could tell commissioners where they stood, pro or con, on the dispensary issue.

But the only public input was to be in comments at the ZBA meeting or the following village council meeting where the zoning recommendation would be accepted by the village.

Harris said he wanted to give people an opportunity to have a conversation.

Linda Cibula will be participating in the Facebook conversation, as well as a special guest who helped with passing the legislation, Harris said.

Chris Harris’ Forest Park Town Hall Facebook page was first posted in 2012 to discuss legalizing video gambling in Forest Park. 

Q & A with Chris Harris about Facebook Townhall

1) Do you think medical cannabis dispensaries are a controversial business?

I think public perception is half the battle. People see the happenings of Colorado on the news and it still has a very wild-west kind of feel to it. It is a much different concept in Illinois.

2) Unlike video gambling, a town cannot block medical cannabis. So, what can public input do?

The town can have a say as to where the dispensaries are located and that is a very important piece to the puzzle. Also more than public input public education is has been lacking. The state has a done a very poor job on educating people about the law as has our village.

3) Neighboring towns like LaGrange and Brookfield have created unwelcoming climates and imposed moratoria to make dispensaries look elsewhere. Is that the tactic we should take if we don’t want dispensaries?

I don’t think it’s healthy to turn away business and tax revenue, our conversation should be where should it be located that is best for Forest Park.

4) You mentioned your residence is near the Deal$ site. How do you feel about a medical pot shop near your house? What if after the trial period it morphs into a recreational pot shop, as some have done in Colorado? What’s your feeling then?

An honest answer is I would rather not have it located just a few hundred feet from my home, and some might say the debate is “well it’s just the same as having a CVS there” – and that’s not entirely true. The fear of Illinois, in time, having this morph into a recreational law is a legitimate one and should be taken into consideration.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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