South Jax Plan Commission approves pot facility zoning request

By Gary Scott on October 10, 2014 at 6:01am

Officials with a company that hopes to produce medical cannabis participated in a South Jacksonville hearing last night.

The hearing was held by the village’s Plan Commission to review an application for re-zoning property at 1985 Woods Drive from agricultural to industrial for Springfield-based HarvestMed, which is purchasing the land to construct a medical marijuana manufacturing facility.

The board voted to recommend the zoning request to the village board of trustees.

Joseph Zander, the director of grow operations for HarvestMed, indicated the company wants to construct a 37,000 square foot facility.

“Our primary location that we’re looking to do this in is in Taylorville. South Jacksonville is our backup location,” he says.

“The reason is the central-ness of the Jacksonville area to the whole state. The proposed location’s just south of I-72, and that location is immediate access to the interstate. We believe it also is a safe location, meeting the setbacks of the state, away from residential areas and away from high population,” continues Zander.

Zander says pursuing a backup option for HarvestMed’s potential medical marijuana facility is part of the application process with the state.

“We are contractually obligated by the state to perform and have to be able to show that we’re cultivating within six months of being awarded the license, so should anything occur, we wanted a backup so that way we could meet that obligation,” he says.

The state is also encouraging applicants to demonstrate community involvement.

“We will work with substance abuse clinics, the Wells Center locally would be one,” Zander states. “We’d be looking to work with the Gateway Center out of Springfield and Taylorville, as many organizations that we can partner with that we can help. We will obviously work with our neighborhood to be a good neighbor and steward.”

HarvestMed is one of eight companies that’s competing to be awarded a license in the Illinois State Police District that includes cities like Lincoln, Taylorville, Springfield and Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation President Terry Dennison said on WLDS’s “AM Conversation” on Thursday that there are two other applicants in Morgan County- one that would construct a facility in Jacksonville, and one in Murrayville.