By Ben Marshall
VANDALIA—Before Vandalia City’s aldermen would discuss and put to a vote new Ordinances for the City of Vandalia, in regards to medical marijuana, Vandalia Mayor Ralph Kuda asked Jeff Hogge, the city administrator of Barry, Ill., to speak about his city’s medical marijuana grow facility during a special meeting held at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 30.
Hogge was a city alderman of Barry, Illinois around 2014 when the state was beginning its venture into medical marijuana. He’s been city administrator for about three years.
Barry’s government and citizens were approached by a few companies to see if the city might be interested in having a medical marijuana grow facility.
Hogge said that at first he was against such a facility, imagining that it might be, “run by a hippie couple that was living out of the back of a psychedelic VW micro bus, or something along those lines.”
He added that, “But I had the chance to sit down with one of the principals that was going to put this in, and he proved to me that I was really wrong.”
Hogge spoke about the construction of, and the running of the facility in his city. He explained that Illinois State laws, which are not likely the same as those in Missouri, govern the new medical marijuana grow, processing or distribution businesses.
After speaking to the Vandalia community members and city board, Hogge opened the floor for questions.
Many of the questions asked had the same concerns mentioned at previous meetings between the public and the City of Vandalia.
After Hogge concluded, the Vandalia board discussed, voted and passed new city ordinances regarding medical marijuana facilities.
Although it might be legal to buy medical marijuana, the city decided to prohibit the consumption of the drug in public or within an authorized dispensary, and established or revised ordinances concerning the possession of drug paraphernalia and outlined exceptions, such as driving under the influence.