Danville City Council members plan to decide soon whether to allow cannabis — marijuana — sales in the city, for medicinal or recreational uses. It’s an opportunity they should not ignore.
Illinois lawmakers approved the use and sale of recreational marijuana during the most recent legislative session. The law goes into effect Jan. 1.
Danville qualifies for a recreational license as well as a medicinal license, if the city council approves of the sales. Urbana city council members already have approved such sales in their city, tacking on a 3 percent sales tax.
That’s a revenue source Danville officials could use.
That kind of revenue stream — boosted, no doubt, by traffic from across the state line in Indiana where such sales remain illegal and likely will remain so for some time — could help city officials delay or at least reduce potential tax increases imposed on residents. Even with potential revenue from a casino, the city’s pension and bond debt continue to burden taxpayers.
Legal sales would not stop illegal traffic in marijuana, but such sales certainly would reduce clandestine deals. Marijuana already can be found within the community. Two recent traffic stops along Indiana Route 63 just east of the state line involved Danville residents who police said had a combined total of more than 9 pounds of marijuana between them.
Banning the legal sales of cannabis isn’t going to stop anyone who wants to try marijuana from doing so. The practice is commonplace in today’s society, and has been for decades.
If Danville City Council members decide not to allow legal sales of marijuana, another Vermilion County community is sure to take advantage of the opportunity. Aldermen should not let this chance to improve the city’s tax revenue pass by.