FAIRFIELD, Ill. (WFIE) - On New Year’s Day, Illinois becomes the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana.
It is up to cities and towns to decide if they will allow it to be sold. In Fairfield, city council members are giving the green light to recreational cannabis sales within city limits after a vote of 5-3 in favor.
But some residents have differing views, like the vote from city leaders indicates.
“I think it’ll be great for Fairfield as I used to work in Albion at the Ataraxia plant, so learning the different benefits and uses for it, I think it’ll be great for this town,” says DeeAnna Swift.
“But when people work at their job with 100 people they run heavy machinery, I don’t think it’s right," explains Craig Clark. "I want to go into work safe zone, not somebody who is stoned out of their mind.”
Retailers will be required to get approval from the city's zoning board.
Fairfield is home to about 5,000 people. One of them is Lawrence Ewing.
In 2016, a crash left Ewing with traumatic brain trauma. He is now learning how to walk and talk again.
“I limp 100 percent of the time,” Ewing explains. “I didn’t even recognize my own sister when I first woke up.”
With severe injuries, he was approved for medical marijuana. Ewing says using it has improved his abilities and he approves of recreational use too.
“If it gets people off opioids, I’m all for it,” Ewing states.
Despite differing opinions, the one aspect each of the three people we talked to agreed on is how this could help the town grow economically.
“They’re struggling right now just to make ends meet,” says Clark.
“More jobs in town, which we actually need,” Swift explains.
“The town is having terrible troubles with economics right now because we’ve lost our biggest factory,” Ewing says.
A three percent retailers occupation tax was also approved.
We are learning zoning details are being sorted out by the city’s attorney.
We reached out to Mayor Brent Maguire a couple of times on Wednesday, but did not hear back.