With a budget shortfall projected at about $14 million due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kane County Board could create additional tax revenue by allowing recreational marijuana sales in unincorporated areas.
Here’s where the candidates in the Nov. 3 election stand on the issue:
Democrat Mavis Bates of Aurora is for allowing marijuana sales, especially if the move staves off other taxes. “We can’t overburden our homeowners any more than we already are.”
Republican Tracy Miller of Aurora said that even though it may be a lost opportunity at revenue, she’s against allowing recreational marijuana sales. “There are so many harmful effects that marijuana has on our youth, I don’t think it’s a positive message, quite frankly.”
Republican David Brown of Batavia said he was “absolutely against it. The little bit of revenue that I think we could create out of the expansion of this, I’m not quite sure is worth what the repercussion could be.”
Democrat Mary Kay Crantz of North Aurora thinks Kane County needs all the revenue it can generate. Because people already are buying marijuana, she believes Kane County should be the beneficiary of sales in unincorporated areas.
Democrat Ruth Kuzmanic of St. Charles is for allowing dispensaries, saying recreational marijuana is legal and can help with budget shortfalls.
Republican Kenneth Shepro of St. Charles, however, said, “it’s not a panacea,” adding that members of both parties acknowledge “there are too many unknowns.”
Republican incumbent Mark Davoust of St. Charles is against marijuana sales in unincorporated Kane County based on the difficulty the sheriff’s department would endure trying to sufficiently patrol such a large area.
Because marijuana dispensaries already are legal elsewhere, William Bachman, a Democrat from St. Charles, believes Kane County should benefit from tax revenue that can be generated in unincorporated areas.
Republican incumbent Michael Kenyon of South Elgin said he’s ready to go along with making marijuana sales available, “but I take a dim view of trying to go on the backs of people’s habits.”
Megan Larson, a Democrat from South Elgin, is in favor of marijuana sales in unincorporated Kane County with regulation and proper procedures in place.
Drew Frasz, the Republican incumbent from Elburn, is against marijuana sales in unincorporated Kane County. He wants keep dispensaries in less rural corridors to make them easier for authorities to patrol.
Democrat Sandy Kaczmarski of Elburn is for it. “I think the citizens in this county are responsible enough,” she said, adding “we can regulate it and make it as safe as possible.”
Lucio Estrada, a Republican from Elgin, doesn’t believe marijuana sales would provide much tax revenue because the bulk of unincorporated Kane County consists of farm land and private property. But he’d listen to colleagues before committing to a position.
Democrat Cherryl Fritz Strathmann, also from Elgin, approves of medical applications and believes recreational marijuana sales with restrictions would provide needed revenue.
Incumbent Douglas Scheflow, a Republican from Elgin, said he has been consistent in his opposition to allowing marijuana sales, and his opinion hasn’t changed when it comes to unincorporated Kane County.
Democrat Verner Tepe of Elgin is pleased with the legal status marijuana has achieved, but he’s not convinced tax revenue would amount to much in unincorporated Kane County and would prefer to focus on better revenue generators.
Democratic incumbent Jarett Sanchez of Carpentersville sees racism in the arrests and imprisonment of minorities for marijuana crimes. He supports marijuana sales in unincorporated Kane County.
Roberta Andresen, a Republican, did not support marijuana dispensaries in her hometown of Carpentersville and she’s not in favor of sales in unincorporated Kane County based on guidance she’s received from law enforcement officials.