Listen to this article

RANKIN — A man considering opening a cannabis business in Rankin wanted to spend more time than he did telling the village board about his plans for the future.

Instead, Daiven Kayne Michael Emling spent most of his time in front of the board this week explaining his past.

A resident told the board she came across court records showing that the 30-year-old rural Rankin resident is a convicted felon. His past legal troubles include convictions for driving under the influence, possession of 30 to 500 grams of cannabis and unlawful video recording.

“This concerns me,” the woman told the board. “I think you guys need to do your homework.”

Emling said he understands the concerns about his past, and he said he is open to discussing it with anyone. He added that he has fulfilled his court-ordered obligations in all three cases and has learned from his mistakes.

If Daiven Kayne Michael Emling's Garden of Eatin' cafe, bakery and dispensary becomes a reality, customers will be able to enjoy cannabis-infused food and drink, and then perhaps receive a CBD-oil massage before smoking a joint or blunt on a patio outside.

Emling said he hopes his past mistakes do not create a distraction for the positive things he is doing today, including trying to bring a new business to the community of 617 people in northwestern Vermilion County.

“I get it; I have a record,” Emling said, “but I’m also trying to bring something to the community in a very positive manner. ... I can understand (my criminal history) needs to be brought to the public, but we need to focus on the cannabis issue and not try to slander my name.”

With his conviction for cannabis possession, Emling could qualify as a “social equity applicant” for the required state licenses for his proposed cannabis business venture, which could include a craft-growing operation on his 6-acre horse farm north of Rankin and a cannabis cafe, bakery and dispensary either at his farm or within Rankin or another town.

As a social equity applicant, Emling could apply for low-interest loans to help defray his start-up costs.

Emling fielded what he termed a “healthy mix” of both concerns and positive feedback about his plans during a public hearing in Rankin in August. Some touted the sales tax revenue a cannabis business could bring to the town, while others expressed concerns about Rankin lacking its own police force or kids gaining access to the cannabis that would be sold.

Emling said Tuesday that he feels the public needs to be better educated about the cannabis industry before he proceeds with his plans in Rankin. Emling said he plans to organize an educational seminar — or perhaps a series of them — for residents of Rankin and other area towns.

“The lack of correct, new, updated information (among the public) was kind of astounding at the public hearing,” Emling said. “We need to correct the lack of proper, new education on this stuff. So I’m going to go out of my way to try and get something set up for this area ... and I hope anybody who has any questions about cannabis will attend that.”

Will Brumleve is editor of the Ford County Record, a News-Gazette Media community newspaper. For more, visit fordcountyrecord.com.