) — Voters in the city of Hillsboro will have an advisory question on the March 17 primary ballot to voice their opinions on purchasing and retail sales of recreational cannabis, also called marijuana.
The legalization of recreational cannabis in the state of Illinois began January 1, but there’s still some confusion among the general public.
The Hillsboro City Council voted unanimously at their December 10 meeting to place an advisory question on the upcoming primary ballot and will be featured the Democratic, Republican and nonpartisan primary ballots
The advisory question was designed to allow the citizens and voters in the city to voice their opinions as to whether Hillsboro should allow the retail sale of recreational cannabis within city limits, which the city council believes is a unique way to approach the issue, compared to municipalities deciding on it themselves without citizen input.
“I’ve consulted with various town officials from around the state and no one has taken this extra step,” Mayor Brian Sullivan stated.
There are some strong opinions on both sides of the issue present within the community, which is why the advisory question is the best step forward, according to the city council.
“We’ve worked hard to build a sense of community here in Hillsboro by making it a different kind of place,” said Sullivan, “The council wants to hear the town’s opinion when it comes to selling recreational cannabis within city limits. Some people aren’t able to attend a public meeting, so we believe this is the best way for everyone to have a voice.
“Obviously, we can’t hold a public vote before every decision we make, but with an issue as complicated as this one, we believe that an advisory vote will give us direct input from the people we represent before we make a final decision as a council,” Sullivan added.
The advisory vote will not be the final verdict on whether recreational cannabis can or cannot be sold within city limits. The Hillsboro City Council will take into consideration the vote results and weigh it against other factors, including the possible sales tax windfall to the city, and make a decision within the next few months.
“We encourage the citizens of Hillsboro to do their research and go out and vote their conscience so we can make a good and informed decision,” said city commissioner Michael Murphy, who oversees the Hillsboro Police Department.