BROOKPORT, IL — The idea of a pot smoking lounge is something you might not think about, but leaders in Brookport are banking on it.
The city is in financially rough times, and one local leader thinks she has found the solution.
Alderwoman Kathy Tucker wants to opt into the state's recreational marijuana initiative, giving the city the money it needs to make big improvements.
"It's not like we're greedy and we want to be millionaires. We just want to be able to maintain the city," said Tucker.
Tucker has lived in Brookport for more than two decades, witnessing its hardships, but she said the answer may lie in Illinois' cannabis summary.
"I hadn't heard anybody talking about a smoking lounge, even though it's in that 610 pages," said Tucker. "So I introduced that to city council and said, you know, that would be one way of getting that revenue, and we need that revenue."
The alderwoman said Illinois is expected to make $55 million in the first year of legally selling recreational marijuana.
Every town can opt in or out of the initiative.
If they opt in, whether or not they have a dispensary, the town will receive 3% of the state's profits. If the town declines, it gets get nothing.
"Things keep breaking down, and where are going to get the funding, you know, to help it to fix it?" said Tucker.
If approved, there will be rules for lounge owners. For instance, they must be located away from government buildings, schools and churches. That may cause an issue for a small town like Brookport.
"That does kind of limit what places we do have now, but if there's a will there's a way," Tucker said.
Tucker is currently working on the ordinance, which she will send to the mayor, then attorney, before it is voted on.
The alderwoman said the Brookport community seems to be split on the idea.
She hopes to have the ordinance ready to vote on by the next city council meeting on Sept. 10.
Recreational marijuana can be sold in the state of Illinois starting Jan. 1, 2020.