Towns contemplate hosting medical-marijuana facility
LEROY — There can only be one medicinal marijuana cultivation center for all of DeWitt, Livingston and McLean counties, but several local lawmakers think their community is the right fit in Illinois State Police District 6.
Both LeRoy and Farmer City are gearing up efforts to entice medicinal marijuana cultivation operations to their towns.
The allure: economic growth. Facilities are said to be accompanied by as many as 60 to 100 job opportunities and large spikes in property tax revenues.
While small towns are not the most sought after in terms of dispensaries, rural land is better suited to fulfill cultivation center guidelines set by the state on July 18.
The rules to open a grow facility will require background checks, financial assurances, hefty permit fees and proof that potential growers have secured appropriately zoned properties that meet stringent state requirements. There will be constant surveillance on all facilities as well.
Cultivation centers cannot be within 2,500 feet of residential areas, preschools, elementary schools, secondary schools or daycare facilities.
Last week, LeRoy took another step toward making such a plot of land a reality outside of town when the city council unanimously approved a change of zoning to agricultural for two parcels of land south of where Morningside Drive ends in the Pleasant Valley development.
The parcels — one nearly 29 acres and the other 53 acres — were zoned residential and could revert back to residential if the business decides to locate elsewhere.
The council also altered the allowable uses of agriculturally zoned areas to include greenhouses.
In Farmer City, conversations are also ongoing. City Manager Larry Woliung said the city owns 20 acres of property on the northwest corner of the Interstate 74 and Route 54 interchange that is zoned commercial.
"An opportunity for 60 jobs would be huge for Farmer City," Woliung said, adding that he is unsure if the group he is in contact with is the same that has contacted LeRoy.
Woliung noted that the city of Rockford, about 160 miles north of the area, is also toward the top of the list for those in charge of the unnamed potential growing operation with which he has been in contact.