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Objection seeks removal of Decatur cannabis sales advisory referendum from the April ballot
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DECATUR

Objection seeks removal of Decatur cannabis sales advisory referendum from the April ballot

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DECATUR — An objection has been filed seeking to have an advisory referendum supporting the sale of recreational cannabis in Decatur removed from the April 6 ballot.

The objection was filed Friday by Jerrold Stocks, a registered voter in the city. In his objection, filed with the Decatur City Clerk’s Office, Stocks cited four defects in the petitions.

Stocks said an insufficient number of voters signed the petition to qualify for ballot placement, that "the purported number of signatures must be reduced for invalidity of particularized defects," inconsistent headings on the petitions, and that some of the signatures were obtained outside of the mandated timeframe. 


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The Municipal Officers Electoral Board is scheduled to meet at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Decatur Civic Center Theater to consider the objection. The hearing is open to the public.

The ballot question reads as follows: "Should the city of Decatur allow the sale of recreational cannabis and cannabis-infused products to adults 21 and older?" 

The decision to have the sales will still be left to the Decatur City Council.

The council in October voted against allowing recreational cannabis sales in the community. Council members at the time raised concerns about the impact on young people and other issues.

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Illinois in 2020 became the 11th state to allow recreational marijuana usage. The legislation allows local communities to opt out of sales.

City Clerk Kim Althoff said the ballot question was filed by attorney Sam Cahnman on behalf of Lisa Kendall.

"We feel that by filing now we are keeping the topic at the top of people’s minds," Kendall said when contacted after the petitions were filed. "It confirms to the incumbent councilors that the will of the people of greater Decatur is pro cannabis. This could open up all sorts of unforeseen doors. There is also a push in the community to change to an aldermanic system of government here as that’s a more representative form of local governance. These upcoming city council elections could have incredibly far-reaching impacts and having the cannabis referendum on the ballot gives those candidates in support of it an immediate measure of community support for one of the subjects that many of them are campaigning upon."

There are currently 13 candidates seeking three available seats on the council in the April election. As a result, there will be a primary on Feb. 23 to reduce that list to six.

The candidates are incumbents David Horn and Chuck Kuhle, and challengers Anthony S. Chapple, Aldophis Cooper, Ed Culp, Elijah England, Marc Girdler, Jacob Jenkins, John Phillips, Hardik Shah, Eric Summerlott, Marty Watkins and William Wetzel.

Eighty recreational cannabis dispensaries have opened in Illinois in 2020 and 30 more are planned. The industry was on track to have sales of $1 billion for the year.

Taxes from cannabis sales are divided among state and local governments.


PHOTOS: Recreational pot sales begin in Illinois


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