HOOPESTON — Recreational marijuana was discussed at Tuesday's council meeting in Hoopeston with unanswered questions for aldermen: Where can recreational cannabis be smoked? Can it be smoked in public places or in bars? How will the police test a person driving under the influence of recreational marijuana?
Police Sgt. Jeremy Welch answered a few of the questions, but admitted there were gray areas that have not been answered by the state. Mayor Bill Crusinberry, who attended the meeting in Chicago which was supposed to enlighten municipalities' leaders, said there few answers to the questions leaders had.
"Right now," said Welch, "blood is the only test (for marijuana). There is no field test for marijuana."
Welch said those using recreational marijuana can be used in the homes, not in public places or bars. The only test the police department has for testing those under the influence of marijuana is a blood test and that would have to be done at the hospital.
The city conducted a public hearing last month regarding recreational marijuana, with a majority of people who attended not wanting it sold in Hoopeston. There were some who thought sales would be an opportunity the city should not pass on.
Alderman Alex Houmes suggested recreational marijuana be on the agenda Nov. 19 to vote on taxing it but vote against it being sold in the city for now.
Crusinberry said the issue with having a cannabis cafe as suggested by Daiven Kayne Emling at the last meeting is that no insurance companies are writing insurance for recreational marijuana cafes. Owners of such a cafe would have to have some sort of dram shop insurance for marijuana just like alcohol.
"I don't see a distribution point coming to Hoopeston," said Crusinberry. "I would like to sit back and see how other cities do first." He added that the city can always change its mind later and the taxes would already be in place.
Applications for recreational marijuana go to the medical marijuana holders first and the second round of applications also will go to them. It would be a couple years, according to Crusinberry, before municipalities would be able to apply.
In other council business, Yaden's Christmas Trees was the only bid received for Floral Hill grave blankets. It was approved. They would supply 39 blankets for $1,969.50, completed and delivered to the cemetery between Nov. 25-27.
Dangerous trees still are in the process of being removed by the Street and Alley Department. Although stumps are being left, the city will remove them. Alderman Jeff Wise said that some residents were paying to have their trees removed. The city will remove the stumps for their help in getting dangerous trees down.
The council approved unanimously the facade committee’s recommendation to approve $4,650 for remibursement of half the cost to cover the east wall of H&R Block building. The funds are set aside for the facade program from the Tax Increment Finance district funds.
Fire Chief Joel Bird said the police and fire departments were again doing the Food Fight for Hunger Nov. 12-25. Donations of food items will be donated to the Hoopeston Food Cupboard. This is a friendly competition to see which one can obtain the most donations. Bird said last year, the police department won by one can.
Crusinberry appointed two local residents to serve on committees. Nicole Trueblood was approved for the Planning and Zoning Committee. Terry Beauvois expressed an interest in serving on the Police Commission Committee.
The tax trustees agreed to a contract with the City of Hoopeston to take possession of the building at 202-204 N. Market St. for $800 for the purpose of demolition. Crusinberry said the city could save money by leaving the bricks on site and burying them. Notice of bids will be in the next week or two.
The Hoopeston School District is doing its Veterans Day program 9-10 a.m. Monday in the middle school gym to honor the veterans in the community.
The next Hoopeston Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 in City Hall.