RANKIN — When people visit The Garden of Eatin’, they will be able to do more than just buy marijuana.
If the business ends up becoming a reality, customers will be able to enjoy cannabis-infused hamburgers, donuts or coffee, for example, in its restaurant and bakery area, and then perhaps receive a CBD-oil massage before smoking a joint or blunt on a patio outside.
And when they're done, they will be able to get a ride home in a “canna-bus.”
“It would be more of a social experience than just, ‘Let me get my weed and get back to my home,’” said Daiven Kayne Michael Emling, who is considering locating his proposed cannabis cafe, bakery and dispensary in the tiny Vermilion County village.
A public informational meeting about Emling’s proposed business is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Rankin Lions Club building, during which he plans to give an overview of his plans and obtain community feedback.
Emling said his preliminary conversations with Rankin residents have revealed overwhelming support so far for bringing the business to the town of 617 people.
Emling said Rankin is just one possible location for the business, though. He said he is also considering setting up shop in other towns nearby — such as Paxton, Hoopeston or Cissna Park — or even at his own 6-acre horse farm.
The farm, located along Illinois 49 about a half-mile north of Rankin, is already undergoing changes in preparation for Emling establishing a cannabis-growing facility there.
“From Day 1, we’ve been building,” Emling said.
Emling, who lives on the farm with his family, said he wants to start up all three aspects of his cannabis venture — cultivation, retail and transportation — sometime in 2020, once the sale and adult use of recreational marijuana become legal in Illinois. Emling, however, realizes challenges lie ahead, including securing investors and acquiring the necessary state permits.
'Middle of nowhere'
Emling said The Garden of Eatin’ — the proposed name for his cannabis cafe/bakery/dispensary — would offer a different experience than a traditional cannabis dispensary.
“We want to take the whole negative cloud of the entire experience off of it,” Emling said. At a traditional dispensary, he said, “it feels like a drug deal — it feels like you’re drug-dealing with the state of Illinois, going to the DMV to wait in line and then get what they give you and go home. I want to take that stigma away and make it as socially acceptable as going to the bar and having a glass of wine.”
Meanwhile, Emling’s proposed cannabis transportation service — which he is thinking about calling Outlaw Transportation — would offer customers trips to and from his dispensary/restaurant site.
“I’m fully aware I’m in the middle of nowhere (in Rankin) — I’m in the dead center of nothing — so we want to make it so they don’t have to risk driving (if they get too high there),” Emling said.
Emling’s growing facility, meanwhile, would be called Kayne’s Cannabis and would be a division of his Origin Acres farming operation, he said. Emling said he intends to grow a variety of cannabis strains for a variety of potential uses, not just among recreational cannabis users but also perhaps people who may be eligible for medicinal marijuana but simply cannot afford the required license or the product.
While the plants would be grown and harvested on the farm, the processing of the marijuana into products like oils and edibles would be done at the dispensary/restaurant/bakery site, Emling said.
All three aspects of Emling’s business would operate under the umbrella of Daiven Kayne Enterprises, Emling said.
The name used to be that of a transportation firm Emling started before he was unable to continue to work as a result of injuries he received in a traffic crash, he said.
‘I've seen the positives'
The 30-year-old Emling, a 2007 graduate of Herscher High School, said the wreck has left him with chronic pain. Emling said he also has Crohn’s disease, which qualified him to obtain a medicinal marijuana license from the state.
In addition to being a legal user of medicinal marijuana, Emling is also a licensed medicinal marijuana caregiver for his father-in-law, who has cancer.
Emling said cannabis has benefited both himself and his father-in-law immensely.
“This is something I’m passionate about, because I’ve seen the positives,” Emling said.
“The cannabis is helping (my father-in-law) at least manage the pain as best he can. ... When cannabis is used correctly, it can be used for many things.”
Having a cannabis shop in Rankin — or somewhere else nearby — would not just be convenient to recreational marijuana users in the rural area around Rankin, Emling said, but also medicinal marijuana users who currently must travel all the way to Champaign-Urbana to get their pot.
And, Emling said, it would bring in some additional sales tax revenue to a small town that could use it.
Municipalities can impose up to a 3 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis sales.
“We want that money to go into the area we’re going to live in,” Emling said.