A slight majority of Gurnee residents responding to a phone survey oppose allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in town, while residents polled via the internet support it, according to results published by the village Monday.
The phone survey was conducted last week and reached about 4 percent of residents. Of the 1,274 reached by phone, 585 people, or 45.9 percent, either somewhat supported or strongly supported allowing recreational cannabis dispensaries. while 689 people, 54.1 percent, said they were opposed. Of the opponents, 549 said they were strongly against the idea.
The village ran an online survey from Aug. 22 to Oct. 14 which received responses from 1,654 people, of which 1,531 self-reported as Gurnee residents. About 69 percent of those people indicated they preferred recreational marijuana dispensaries be allowed.
In addition to the survey results, the village published about 60 pages of comments left by residents on the issue.
“It seems to be pretty evenly split,” Mayor Kristina Kovarik said, acknowledging that village staff had no way of knowing whether the same residents responded to both village surveys. “It’s up to the board now, they have a lot to digest.”
Kovarik said the village board will likely vote on recreational sales in November. She said she hasn’t yet decided how she falls on the issue.
“I don’t know honestly,” she said. “The best we can do is gather as much info as possible.”
Kovarik said the village is in a good place financially so she doesn’t think board members will feel they have to allow recreational marijuana sales to generate revenue.
“We don’t have a financial imperative that would force us to do this, we don’t feel that pressure to do this for financial reasons,” Kovarik said.
She said village staff has not estimated how much money the village might stand to gain from recreational marijuana sales. If the amount turned out to be similar to medical marijuana revenue, the village could make $100,000 to $200,000, she said.
“It’s not an insignificant amount of money but not enough to change budget outcomes,” Kovarik said.
Whatever the board chooses, the village will likely have to spend money training police officers to detect marijuana-impaired drivers, she said.