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WATSEKA — The Iroquois County Board voted 18-0 on Dec. 10 to prohibit cannabis business establishments in unincorporated areas of the county.

Businesses prohibited include cultivation centers, craft growers, processing organizations, infuser organizations, dispensing organizations and transporting organizations.

County board member Jed Whitlow of Gilman said he has a lot of opinions on the issue, from doing research and from his years as a police officer. Whitlow said the state has “gone down the liberal highway.”

“Thank goodness (counties) have a say in it at least,” Whitlow said.

Whitlow said he was not trying to say that marijuana is worse than alcohol, but he said it comes with its own negative issues. Whitlow also said that his opinions do not mean he is against the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

“Does revenue mean so much we’re willing to risk lives?” Whitlow asked.

Whitlow said that just because cannabis will be legal in Illinois come Jan. 1, it does not mean the financial market is legit for it. Whitlow noted that in states where cannabis has been legal for a period of time, the black market has undercut the legal sales.

County board member Barb Offill of Gilman said that by allowing cannabis-related businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county, it would show the board as supporting the use of cannabis.

“We already have an opioid problem,” Offill said. Allowing cannabis businesses, she said, would be “doing an injustice to kids.”

Board member Donna Crow of Milford said her constituents were not in favor of allowing cannabis businesses.

Board members Michael McTaggart of Clifton and Kevin Bohlmann of Watseka were absent from the meeting.