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Marijuana grower interested in possible Grundy County location

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 9:26 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 9:14 a.m. CST

MORRIS – A medical marijuana grower is interested in building a cultivation center in Morris, an investment that could bring as many as 40 jobs to the area.

Doug Pryor, vice president of the Grundy Economic Development Council, informed the Grundy County Tax Committee on Wednesday about very-preliminary conversations with an applicant interested in building a cultivation center about two miles west of the Brisbin Road interchange near Gun Club Road.

The potential space would be about five to 10 acres in size and would be located within the city limits of Morris, Pryor said.

“Very few places have been willing to look at building a new building for it, but we’ve got an applicant out there who’s actually considering building a new building,” Pryor told the committee.

The Medicinal Cannabis Pilot Program Act was passed earlier this year allowing marijuana to be used in treating an array of medical problems, including epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma and several other health conditions.

The pilot program is set to expire in 2018. In the meantime, lawmakers will evaluate its success and decide if the program should continue.

For this reason, Pryor said not many of the applicants are willing to invest in building a brand-new facility if, within four years, the program ends.

Still, one applicant has expressed interest in constructing a new center within Morris, something that surprised Pryor.

“The long story short is, there’s a possibility that an application might end up coming up in Grundy County after all. We didn’t think it was going to happen,” he said Wednesday.

Numerous approvals and ordinances would need to be drafted and signed before any such marijuana greenhouse could be built, but Pryor said he wanted to make the county aware of this potential application.

The new facility would create anywhere from 30 to 40 jobs which would pay as much as $45,000, Pryor told the committee.

“If you’re talking $45,000 jobs, you know, that’s not bad,” tax committee member John Galloway said.

According to state law, only one cultivation permit will be granted per state police district, meaning the Grundy County site would be competing with Kendall and Will counties to house a cultivation center.

Pryor said that many of the potential growers are filing multiple applications in each allowable district, just in case.

“This is a real long shot,” Pryor said. “But for all of the circling that’s happened, we’ve actually had one.”

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