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WJBD - Local News - City of Centralia Wants Medical Marijuana Growing Facility

City of Centralia Wants Medical Marijuana Growing Facility

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

The City of Centralia is throwing its hat into the ring to possibly become the location of one of 22 medical marijuana growing facilities in the state of Illinois. The City Council approved a lease agreement with Largo Meds, LLC to construct a medical marijuana growing facility on the corner of Copple Road and Woods lane--if Largo Meds growing application, which is still pending with the state of Illinois, is accepted. A growing facility, or cultivation center, grows the cannabis plant, but does not dispense it.

City Manager Dan Ramey says that there is absolutely no guarantee that the facility will end up in Centralia.

"I don't think the Governor will announce this until after the election...I want the board to know that I know of other facilities that are putting applications in. It's not like we're getting it [for sure], or that we've even got a 50/50 chance. It's a very competitive thing" said Ramey.

Only 22 such growing facilities will be authorized in the state--one for every state police district. If the Centralia's location is indeed approved by the state, it would be a major windfall for the city: the city would receive 5% of gross revenue that the facility would generate as per the lease agreement. That translates to $3.2 million dollars for the city over four years. Councilman David Sauer called it a "no brainer".

"The only issue that the citizens might have is whether they like the idea at all...but that's not for the City Council to discuss, that's for the state legislature. We have the change of getting 5% of the gross. This is a chance for us to really improve our budget, and I see no harm to the community" said Sauer.

The facility would be half a mile away from any schools, churches, or day care centers and at least 2,500 feet away from any residential zone. 24/7 monitoring and tight security would ensure that the facility is safe from criminal activity. If approved, it could bring between 20 and 25 jobs to the Centralia area.

In other action, the Council approved a $200,000 revolving loan agreement with Engineered Fluid, Inc, through the Community Development Assistance Program. The loan was a first for the administration of Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby, and the money, according the EFI President Bill Goodspeed, will be used to install a new sprinkler system at their Centralia facility.

A development agreement was passed with Pinnacle Foods, Inc to transfer property to the company that was originally donated to the city by Kris Kourdevelis. The agreement will allow the company to create a new entrance off of Hickory Street and add additional parking.

The council added two properties to the list of derelict buildings slated for eventual demolition, 426 Linden Avenue and 835 East Kerr. 

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