Roselle plans ballot question on marijuana sales, distribution in town

 
 
Updated 11/24/2020 7:02 PM

Roselle is preparing to ask voters in a nonbinding referendum whether marijuana sales and distribution should be allowed in the village.

When the village board prohibited marijuana sales last December, village officials agreed to revisit the decision this year. Now, the board is discussing putting the question to a vote on April 6.

 

The village board also discussed Monday whether to add a second question to the ballot asking whether marijuana distribution centers should be allowed in the village.

That would fill up Roselle's three-question limit on the April ballot, with a third referendum asking whether the town should become home rule, a designation that grants more local control over issues such as taxation.

Trustees said they want residents to weigh in on marijuana sales.

"It's important to give residents the opportunity to decide," Trustee Wayne Domke said. "It's a decision that requires more than six or seven elected people. As with the home rule question, we need guidance from the residents."

Trustee Bruce Berkshire believes sites for a marijuana store in the village are limited. Roselle's current zoning would not allow for marijuana sales and distribution in areas zoned for recreation, child care, or residential.

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"The likelihood of us having anything here is going to be very low," Berkshire said. "They want to be visible out on the street like vaping stores."

Trustee David Pilkeski believed that an abandoned Marathon Gas Station would be the most likely location for a marijuana vendor in the village.

The village plans to extend the moratorium on marijuana sales until June to give time for new trustees, who will also be chosen April 6, to make the final decisions regarding marijuana's future in the village.

As for the home-rule designation, some trustees say the status would allow the village more options to restrict short-term rentals after a fracas in June at a rented house on Picton Road. More than 60 shots were fired during a party, one man was killed and at least four were injured. This investigation is still ongoing.

The village will discuss putting the questions on the ballot at the next board meeting on Dec. 7.

• Trey Arline is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.

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