Bloomington gets cannabis dispensary; council extends party bus ban

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Less than a year after opening, a McLean County cannabis dispensary is looking expand in both of the Twin Cities.

On Monday night, Beyond Hello was given the green light by the Bloomington City Council to set up shop in 118 Keaton Place (formerly Slim Chickens). The company requested the space because leaders said the current shop does not offer an array of options for medical marijuana users.

They’re hoping this new space can offer that while also providing extra parking spaces for customers shopping inside or utilizing curbside pick up.

All but one council member voted in favor of the move, as Mboka Mwilambwe said he was against the dispensary coming into town in the first place. But it turned out he was not the lone dissenter as Surena Fish voiced concerns about the proximity of the new location from ‘family businesses’.

“In the 500ft zone there are three family-oriented businesses, where there are children going and coming,” said Fish. “Which means anyone waiting, anyone sitting in a car, the kids are exposed to it.”

However, Nathan Wang, Jushi’s (the company that owns Beyond/Hello) Manager of New Markets, said the company understands the fear community members may have toward a new store, especially cannabis. He said after months in the community, many will change their views after seeing how responsible they’ve been.

“We’ve done everything in our power to make sure the proposal submitted is compliant with the ordinance that was already passed,” said Wang. “We do take safety, security, as well as our impact on the community, and neighbors, extremely seriously in every community that we are a part of.”

Wang said the company hopes to have the store open by the end of the year.

Party Bus Ban Extended

As McLean County entered the warning zone for the first time on Sept. 4, Mayor Tari Renner was brainstorming what he could do locally to curb the rapid uptick.

He decided to ban party buses carrying large amounts of people from entering the city. He said in many cases the party buses are filled with students who use it to travel to the downtown bars.

He also said while inside the bus, people are not social distancing therefore violating the COVID-19 guidelines set out by IDPH. However, because it was an emergency order, it could only be in effect for less than a week, and it was to be up on the following council agenda for a vote.

On Monday night, the Bloomington City Council decided to extend that ban for 28 days, meaning on the council’s Oct. 12 meeting, they will have the option to remove or extend the ban again.

City Manager Gleason

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason will be the beneficiary of a 3% raise.

On Monday, the council passed an item boosting Tim Gleason’s salary to just north of $197,000. City leaders said his performance review for the second year of service exceeded expectations and was the “highest-ranking.”

As part of the ordinance, the city also voted to extend his employment agreement by two years until July of 2024.

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