The City of Loves Park bans the sale of recreational marijuana within its city limits.
Loves Park City Council voted seven to three to approve the prohibiting ordinance Monday evening. Aldermen say statistics in other legalized states, like Colorado, show too many problems have increased.
“Whether it’d be crime or traffic accident, or traffic fatalities,” said Fifth Ward Alderman Mark Peterson. “There’s a long list of where recreational cannabis has been a social problem.”
Loves Park doesn’t have a property tax for its residents. First Ward Alderman Clint Little spoke against the ban and expressed disappointment for the final vote.
“I’m a big proponent of making sure that our citizens are being taken care of and that the financial burden isn’t put on their back,” said Little. “We have to support ways of bringing in revenue into our community.”
Loves Park residents will still be able to use cannabis within their homes.
Rockford has two medical dispensaries approved for recreational licenses, MedMar Dispensary and Mapleglen Care Center.
“They are going to be getting that revenue,” said Little. “We will see maybe some of the problems but not have any of the revenue to combat it.”
Peterson says he’s proud of the city council’s decision, adding not enough people are aware of the drawbacks of marijuana. He believes opting-in would turn away potential residents or business partners if they knew a dispensary was nearby.
“By the Loves Park City Council voting the way it did, it’s starting to get the word out there that we’re causing people to think for a moment that recreational cannabis isn’t good for the community,” said Peterson.
Third Ward resident Ron Adams says he’s disappointed by the ban and was even more upset residents weren’t given notice the vote was taking place.
When he spoke to his aldermen, Doug Allton and Robert Schlensker, he says they told him they were morally against marijuana.
“I don’t need them to be my moral compass” said Adams. “What I need them to do is to make sure my tax dollars are protected, spent wisely and not increased.”
Fourth Ward Alderman John Jacobson mentioned reconsidering the ordinance in eight months to see how marijuana sales is working for other municipalities.