Medical marijuana cultivation center hopefuls meet in Jax today

By Jim McCabe on August 29 at 7:28am

Jacksonville officials are listening to four presentations today from developers who want to build cultivation centers for medical marijuana in the city.

Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation President Terry Denison says three of the developers are from the Chicago area, while the other is from Springfield. Denison says the “final four” are whittled down from an original list of eight interested parties that contacted the JREDC last month.

He says the job benefit to West Central Illinois would be noticeable.

“It would be anywhere from 30 to 50 to, even possibly, we’re hearing as much as 100 new jobs. They will be good-paying jobs,” says Denison.

“It’ll be in a very highly-secure facility. It will look just like any manufacturing plant. All the medical marijuana will be grown inside under camera surveillance and a highly-secure area.”

Denison says Jacksonville is competing with Taylorville, Lincoln and Springfield for the right to host the single cultivation center allowed in the local Illinois State Police district.

“Just like every economic development project, it’s competitive, and not only is it competitive within our community, but it’s competitive all over the state of Illinois,” he says.

“I’m hearing through the grapevine, believe it or not, that there could be as many as 400 to 500 applications going in to the Illinois Department of Ag for these cultivation centers, and if that’s true, it’s going to take quite a while before a final decisions is made on who gets a license in each of these districts,” continues Denison.

Denison also notes that there is interest in bringing a cultivation center to Winchester, which although part of the JREDC territory is part of a different police district. He adds that two other developers want a cultivation center in South Jacksonville and Murrayville.

There are 21 Illinois State Police districts.

Any cultivation center that comes to Jacksonville would not be allowed to be within 25-hundred feet of zoned residential areas, churches, schools or day care.

Denison says starting September 8th, all serious developers have to submit applications to the state agriculture department. There is no deadline on when a developer will be selected. A $25-hundred application fee is required.

Denison adds that the ag department is finalizing a list of “bonus points” that will help officials choose a successful candidate. The list encourages outreach programs and other ways potential developers can benefit the community.