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Douglas County Board to consider cannabis options

By Kayleigh Rahn
DOUGLAS COUNTY–Douglas County State’s Attorney Kate Watson says it’s time to begin discussing cannabis.

During the Douglas County Board meeting Wednesday, July 17, Watson shared with the board that she will be attending a conference in August that will educate local government representatives on the ins and outs of the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois beginning Jan. 1. 

“As you’re all aware, the state is going to legalize cannabis, and there are certain things we need to begin to discuss as far as having an ordinance to address how we’d like cannabis to be bought sold, and consumed in our community,” she said.

She suggested that local municipalities should have the issue on their radars, as well.

“There are just a lot of issues we might want to address,” she said. “I hope to see what some of those issues might be and how they impact our concerns.”

The county has no ordinance regarding recreational cannabis, because it has been banned by state statute, Watson said.

“The state seems to be rushing through these things and not considering the issues,” Watson said. “The governor said with passing this legislation he wanted to leave how the local jurisdictions want to handle cannabis to them. I will become fully versed on the issue and the options we may have.”

In other discussion, with around 20 residents wearing red shirts showing their opposition to the Harvest Ridge Wind Farm, Newman Mayor Jim Allen asked the County Board members if they have been in contact with EDP, the wind farm developer, regarding a Phase II of the project. 

The board members declined having been involved in conversations related to a second phase.

Allen’s question was related to a WECS committee hearing Friday, June 14 when EDP representatives mentioned different FAA systems that could be put into place “for Phase II.” 

During Wednesday’s meeting project manager Amy Kurt introduced construction manager Chuck Coughran who will be leading the public road construction effort. The construction plan for each day will be posted in various locations, including the Douglas County website.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a 10-year cable television franchise agreement between Comcast and Douglas County for the construction, operation and maintenance of a cable system.

• Approved a resolution allowing Munson to execute the Fiscal Year 2020 Downstate Operation Assistance and Federal 5311 Grant Agreement for funding to promote the public transportation service Dial-A-Ride.

• Approved the appointment of Mark Shafer as an Arcola Fire Protection District trustee for a three-year period beginning Monday, July 1. 

• Approved the payment of the county’s financial obligations.

• Approved the report of fees of the county offices.

• Approved the Wednesday, June 19 regular board meeting minutes.

• Adjourned until 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21.

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