Unknown cannabis impacts worry BPD

BPD
Bloomington Police Sgt. Aaron Veerman (left) and Assistant Chief Greg Scott (right) are BPD’s representatives on the city’s cannabis task force.
(Photo by Howard Packiowitz/WJBC)

 

By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – The two Bloomington Police representatives on the city’s cannabis task force worry that unintended consequences from recreational marijuana sales might strain limited police resources.

Thursday night, the task force held a second public meeting. Members are on a tight deadline to come up with recommendations to the city council in less than two weeks.

Sgt. Aaron Veerman said arresting someone for drug-induced DUI is much more time consuming than alcohol-related DUI.

It could take “hours and hours” to transport a suspect to the hospital for a blood draw…and eventually to jail, according to Veerman.

Assistant Chief Greg Scott said there’s a lack of hard data, even in Colorado, which for several years has been a mecca for marijuana-related businesses.

“If something happens here that raises the crime rate in DUI or outlying burglaries or robberies, it could negatively impact some of the quality of life issues that we can address like loud music or abandoned cars, those kinds of things,” said Scott.

“We’re not bursting at the seams with cops,” the assistant chief also said.

Downtown business owners prefer locating recreational marijuana dispensaries somewhere outside of the downtown area, according to task force member Jan Lancaster, who owns The Bistro.

Lancaster urges city leaders to work closely with Normal.

“Normal has said they don’t want it in their (Uptown). I think that’s what I’m hearing from most business owners, that they would prefer it to be out in another zone,” said Lancaster.

“Bloomington isn’t Colorado. It isn’t Chicago,” added Lancaster.

“I think our task here is whether to opt in or opt out, and then I think most people are asking about the location,” Lancaster said.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at howard.packowitz@cumulus.com

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