County governmental bodies in Illinois are hearing from companies interested in developing a medical marijuana farm. Several counties, including Iroquois, Kankakee, and Champaign, have been in talks.
The facilities would be strictly-governed, policed and hopefully provide educational value to researchers.
Tuesday, the Kankakee County Board approved a zoning ordinance to allow medical marijuana production facilities here. The 17-7 vote drew objection from several board members who disapprove of the new state law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Daily-Journal reports the ordinance will restrict such a facility to industrial districts. Kankakee County's Planning Director Mike Van Mill said "it intentionally left out agricultural districts due to security concerns." He said industrial zones are closest to emergency services such as police.
Kankakee County's proximity to large markets in Chicago and a location in an Illinois State Police district south of Interstate 80 makes the county an attractive option, according to Van Mill. State law allows one production facility in each of the state's 22 state police districts.
Police surveillance becomes a key issue. Each facility could create 20 and 50 full-time jobs and generate revenue for local government.
While Kankakee offers an industrial outlook, Iroquois County officials eye the medical marijuana opportunity as an agriculture-venture.
A medical marijuana production facility would employ growers, pickers and security personnel and could represent a half-million dollar investment.