GODFREY – An ordinance taxing cannabis sales was approved 5-1 by the village board Tuesday at the same meeting where officials advanced video gaming in convenience stores on a tie-breaker vote by Mayor Mike McCormick.

Also, Kratom sales discussions were put on hold so more information would be available, including possible action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The board has been considering how to deal with the legalization of recreational cannabis in Illinois.

The new ordinance allows taxing sales within Godfrey but provides no other guidance for the village.

Previously McCormick and trustees have said they first needed the tax ordinance in place and then may regulate sales and/or production through zoning.

Municipalities cannot regulate the consumption of cannabis but can regulate or prohibit its sale and production. The three general options are to opt out, which would prohibit production and sales except for limited personal growing for medical marijuana users; do nothing, which would allow such businesses in the community without generating any local tax revenue; or pass an ordinance establishing a tax of up to 3 percent and regulating the businesses, primarily through zoning.

After a short discussion trustees unanimously voted to suspend its rules and consider the ordinance Tuesday night rather than wait for the next meeting. The board then voted 5-1 in favor, with a nay from Jeffrey Weber who previously indicated strong opposition.

Trustees on Tuesday also voted to have its attorneys draw up an ordinance expanding video gaming to convenience stores. The issue has been a hot topic, with representatives of QuikTrip making a major push to allow the machines.

Illinois requires businesses have an alcohol “pour” license — meaning they can serve individual drinks for consumption at the business — to have video gaming. Convenience stores normally have a license for packaged liquor. Godfrey has several options on liquor licenses, with an “E” license that allows the sale of beer and wine being the most compatible.

The village could also define a “convenience store” to further restrict who could apply for the licenses and state gaming permits.

Highland City Attorney Mike McGinley discussed issues raised by video gaming expansion, saying Godfrey would have “wide discretion” over controls, including requiring separate rooms and drink limits.
After extensive discussion trustees voted 3-3 on preparing the ordinance with Mark Stewart, Nathan Schrumpf and Weber voting no and Ben Allen, Karen McAtee and Virginia Woulfe-Beile voting yes. McCormick broke the tie with a “yes” vote.

It was one of two tie-breakers cast by the mayor, an unusual circumstance.

The other was to approve a bid of about $56,000 from Wegman Electric to install solar panels at the Glazebrook Park concession stand. Some trustees wanted to rebid the project.
Weber, Allen and McAtee voted to accept the bid; Stewart, Schrumpf and Woulfe-Beile voted no. McCormick voted “yes” adding he was “doing a lot of work tonight.”

A possible business license for SS Kratom Wholesale was put on hold. The Mayo Clinic states Kratom is an herbal extract from the leaves of a Southeast Asia evergreen tree that can be chewed, swallowed or brewed. Kratom extract can be used to make a liquid product marketed as a treatment for muscle pain, to suppress appetite and to stop cramps and diarrhea. It is also is sold as a treatment for panic attacks.
At low doses, it acts as a stimulant. At higher doses, it reduces pain and may bring on euphoria. At very high doses it acts as a sedative and is sometimes used as a substitute for opium in traditional Asian medicine.

It is not regulated, but the sale has been banned in several local communities including Granite City, Glen Carbon, Jerseyville and Alton.

Weber noted the FDA is considering a ruling later this year and suggested Godfrey wait. Other trustees agreed and the issue was dropped.

About half of the standing-room-only crowd left after that announcement.