Mundelein’s decision to allow medical marijuana as a permitted use has created an uproar on social media that led to two competing petitions on the issue.Many nearby towns are requiring potential dispensaries to participate in public hearings prior to opening, so that additional research can be done to see if neighbors suffer any undo burdens. Mundelein’s July 14 decision, however, means a business can open right away if it meets all state and local criteria.One petition calls for trustees to require a public hearing for every new medical marijuana business, while another calls for economic incentives encouraging such businesses to locate in Mundelein.Not long after a majority of trustees agreed that a medical marijuana dispensary is no different than a commercial pharmacy, Trustee Dawn Abernathy and resident Katie Henning fueled debate over the matter in a Facebook group called “Mundelein Moms.”More than 100 messages from about two dozen people bombarded the group, according to members.As the discussion heated up, Henning decided to create an online petition calling for trustees to reverse their decision and require a public hearing if a company plans to open a dispensary in town.“Mundelein is allowing a dispensary to be in a building with other tenants, which police say is more difficult to monitor,” Henning said after she started the petition. “Nobody under the age of 18 is allowed inside a dispensary and I’d hate for something to happen to a child who’s sitting alone in a car while the parent is inside getting a prescription.”Henning also said she visited the two locations in Mundelein that meet the criteria for a dispensary and some of the nearby homes are too close for her comfort. She said she fears a thief could easily flee into the house’s backyards after mugging a medical marijuana customer.“I knocked on doors and nobody knew that a dispensary could open up outside their back door,” Henning said. “The village needs to back off and let the public be involved in what could affect their safety and their businesses’ success.”As of press time, Henning’s petition had 23 signatures online, and she indicated she had about 45 signatures on a paper petition as well.A second petition surfaced soon thereafter, which not only praises Mundelein officials for “compassionate” regulations but also urges the use of economic incentives to attract a dispensary.Jarrett and friend Josh Hogan take ownership of the petition, which argues that Mundelein is doing the right thing by making it easy for dispensaries to locate there to help people who need the drug.“Thankfully I don’t have a need for medical marijuana, and neither does anyone in my family, but I tried to put myself in their shoes,” Jarrett said. “I think those people are too busy dealing with their condition to fight this fight.”Jarrett said his petition, which now has more than 150 signatures, was a response to Henning’s petition.“If she had not posted her petition and had not kept pushing some questionable information, then I would have never put up my petition,” Jarrett said.When it came to an economic incentive for medical marijuana, Jarrett said the village needs more businesses, period.“Mundelein is full of empty strip malls and tumble weed,” Jarrett said. “They should incentivize any potential business and do more than just point at a building and say ‘you can go there if you want.’ We already have a friendly ordinance toward medical marijuana, and medical companies are destinations. Why not go for it?”Henning later announced her candidacy for the next village trustee election, saying she was already thinking about it and the medical marijuana decision pushed her over the edge. She has not filed any formal documents yet, according to village officials.Both sides of the argument attended the July 28 Village Board meeting to express their beliefs. Trustee Terri Voss, who was very outspoken against more regulation when the group voted two weeks earlier, criticized Henning further.She has since said she’s backing away from the topic because people have damaged her mailbox, dumped trash on her driveway, and made unpleasant phone calls to her house.“All from the ‘compassionate people’ of Mundelein,” Henning wrote on Faceback, in a post she shared with Pioneer Press. “Doesn’t seem too compassionate to me. I’m backing off completely for the safety of my street and the kids on it. I am so disappointed and shocked at this town’s reaction to asking for a public hearing so the affected residents and businesses can hear about the village’s plans to keep everyone safe.”You can view the petition calling for trustees to require a public hearing for every new medical marijuana business here.You may view the petition calling for economic incentives encouraging such businesses to locate in Mundelein here.Tags: Medical Marijuana Mundelein [embedded content]
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