Metamora village leaders approve taxing marijuana sales, terminate K9 officer program

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METAMORA, Ill. — Village leaders in Metamora Tuesday unanimously approved taxing sales of recreational cannabis.

Earlier this year Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that legalizes recreational marijuana on January 1, 2020. Local municipalities, however, can put rules and regulations on the new industry.

City leaders are drafting an ordinance to be discussed at a future meeting that would regulate any facility hoping to open up in Metamora.

“I don’t know if Metamora would ever vote to have a dispensary in the community or not, we haven’t had enough input. But should it come in, I want to make sure we get the three percent sales tax. If you want to do that, you have to pass that three percent sales tax before October 1,” said Village Board President Ken Maurer.

Tuesday’s 6-0 decision does not mean sales have been approved in the community, just that if leaders approve the sale of marijuana, they’ll be able to tax it once the law kicks in.

“It would be very rare that Metamora would have an application in the initial 75, but as it moves on, there’s going to be more and more dispensaries and it will come up,” Maurer said.

“I’m going to have our attorneys draft a policy. Of course we’ll look at it and decide it we want to pass it. Even that does not mean we’re going to have a recreational marijuana dispensary. What I want to be is ready, if for some reason there’s some loop hole in there and somebody can set up a dispensary, and now we have no guidelines on it or anything,” said Maurer.

Maurer says he thinks the Village Board would allow a medical marijuana dispensary.

“We would allow medical marijuana, we don’t have a dispensary for that either, but we would allow that,” Maurer said.

Maurer said the Village Board is discussing if bringing a recreational marijuana dispensary to Metamora would be beneficial financially.

“If nobody else has it out in Woodford County, it could be decent revenue,” Maurer said.

Metamora City Council also voted to disband its K9 officer.

K9 Officer Oz

Mayor Ken Mauer says Sergeant Tim Ford has been unable to work because of a work-related injury and his K9, Oz, hasn’t been in service. If Sergeant Ford wants to keep caring for Oz, he will now have to take official ownership.

“If we’re not getting our officer back, you have to untrain him, you have to separate him from the current handler. And that’s not easy. Think of your own, if you have a pet dog, and you’ve had him for 5 years, lives in the house with you. It’s just not easy to undo that,” Maurer said.

Oz is trained to sniff out drugs, and has found weed before on searches. Starting in 2020, Oz would have to be completely retrained.

“Our dog is trained to mostly sniff out marijuana. Well now that is legal, so we’re going to have a dog who has to be retrained anyway. You have to untrain him on what he knows now, and retrain him for the new,” said Maurer.

Maurer says although Oz will not be on the force any longer, Woodford County can help out if any drug searches are needed.

“He’s been useful, been helpful, and we share him with other communities. Woodford County has two dogs that are available to us, so we’re still covered,” Maurer said.

Oz has also done multiple search and rescue missions at Black Partridge Park when hikers have gotten lost in the woods.

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