Carrillo wins approval for cannabis task force, though council diminishes her role

Task force
The Bloomington City Council voted Monday night to create a task force that will recommend how the city can implement the state’s new law legalizing recreational use of marijuana. (Photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)


By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington City Council member Jenn Carrillo will probably not lead a task force guiding the city’s decisions how to implement the state’s new law legalizing recreational marijuana use, even though forming the task force was her idea.

The council voted 6-3 Monday night to create the cannabis task force, but members backed amendments not to name who will chair the panel. Council member Kimberly Bray said Carrillo might not be an impartial leader.

“With all due respect, Council member Carrillo, you’ve sat before this body and told us that you’re very interested in developing a tourism for cannabis here in Bloomington. I just question whether you have the kind of neutrality that a chair for this kind of role would have,” said Bray.

Carrillo suggested she chair the task force because she didn’t want to impose a heavy workload on others.

Members Donna Boelen and Mboka Mwilambwe also voted no.

Boelen succeeded in keeping off the task force entrepreneurs wanting to open dispensaries or other marijuana-related businesses because she said that would be a conflict of interest.

Mwilambwe argued task forces created in recent years studying downtown redevelopment and budget priorities were cumbersome and created too many decision points.

The council is giving the cannabis task force a three-month lifespan. An initial report is due October 21.

“I think our role here is to engage everyday people to truly be a part of the process,” said Carrillo.

“I’m not scared to give power to our residents,” she added.

Mayor Tari Renner will pick task force members, with council approval. He said he’ll leave it up to the task force to choose the chair.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


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