LAKEWOOD – Marijuana will not officially be available for retail sale at pharmacies, stores or convenience stores in Lakewood Village.
The Lakewood Village Board unanimously voted in favor of the waiver after a lively public hearing on Monday night.
Various parishioners attended the hearing, the second this month. Some were in favor of retailing marijuana in the village, while many were not in favor. Proponents cited the use of marijuana in medical settings, as well as the income it could bring to the village. Others pointed out that despite the many accidents and addictions it causes, alcohol is legal.
“How many families have been ruined by alcohol?” A community member asked.
Another community member explained the effective use of marijuana for relieving pain, anxiety, and other ailments.
Those who opposed marijuana sales in the village shared personal experiences of the negative effects marijuana had on the community, including Richard Peterson, a former school administrator.
“I saw how it destroyed family after family after family” he said. “If you make this decision, you’d better be prepared because many things come with it.”
Several members of the public said the effects of approving the sale of medical marijuana would be detrimental to Lakewood.
“If this board votes, look for a new job.” quipped one person.
Members of the public asked if the law violates the use of medical marijuana, which Mayor Randy Holcomb confirmed it is not.
Each village trustee had time to make a statement before the vote. Trustee Douglas Schutte said he believed in medical marijuana “Has its place” but “Recreational marijuana isn’t.”
“I agree with that,” said Holcomb.
Trustee Ellen Barnes said with her law enforcement experience, she saw the effects of marijuana. She said she also understood the need for medical marijuana but didn’t see the benefit of recreational marijuana.
“If you get into the recreational aspect, it’s a psychiatric drug, which means it has the ability to change your brain chemistry, which it does.” said Barnes. “So it’s a very, very tempting drug that leads people to other drugs. So, I think we have to take that into account. The mechanism and its biochemical functioning are very different from that of alcohol, so the comparison between apples and apples or oranges and oranges is not necessarily the same. “
Barnes said society currently has an addiction problem that shouldn’t be added. She said marijuana could affect the brains of young and vulnerable people.
“Since your brain is not fully developed until you are 25, it can be extremely harmful to young people and people at risk and is associated with further addiction.” said Barnes. “We have just enough problems in our society; Why should we add more so that more people can get ripped off their minds and trick them into doing something they might not have done? The damage is done – marijuana is no longer illegal; I will say, however, that it has many disadvantages. “
Trustee Edward McCague said with the information currently available to the board: “The most responsible thing for the board of trustees is to deregister.”
“It is a statement (that) reflects the wishes of some residents and at the same time preserves the option of the village to dial in again when we perhaps know more about the whole situation and can make a more informed decision whether we want it or not,” said McCague. “That will all be left to a future board member.”
After discussion, the board unanimously approved the measure to refuse the sale of marijuana and pharmacies within the village limits. Municipalities have until December 31st to decide whether to opt out, which local law requires.