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PRINCETON — The Princeton City Council endorsed the location of a medical marijuana cultivation center on the southwest edge of town in the Princeton Logistics Park during Monday evening’s council meeting.
The city has recently been approached by Largo Meds LLC, a newly formed limited liability company, that was created for the purpose of applying for one of the 22 Illinois state issued permits to grow marijuana for medical purposes. If successful in obtaining a cultivation license from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the company intends to develop and operate a medical marijuana cultivation center producing medical marijuana for sale to state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. The company intends to submit applications in four out of the 20 designated Illinois growing districts. Each application requires $25,000 non-refundable application fee to the State of Illinois.
While there are some concerns with the potential 50,000 square foot facility, the council remained confident that a cultivation center would bring 20-25 new jobs to the city.
“This project will create new jobs and new revenue for the city,” said Mayor Keith Cain. “We offer our full support to the developer and urge the Illinois Department of Agriculture to approve the development group’s application naming Princeton as the cultivation center site for District 17.”
On January 1, 2014, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act became Illinois law and set the program guidelines for the application process, production, and distribution of medical cannabis. City manager Jeff Clawson reported that the location of the future cultivation center meets all these requirements and if approved will be monitored 24/7 by state police.
The Princeton Economic Development team had communicated with Largo Meds LLC the many area assets that are ideal for production including a labor force with an agricultural and manufacturing skill set, well managed city utilities with growth capacity, a nationally recognized electric department, great transportation infrastructure, full-time police and fire/EMS departments, and many cultural features.
“This project is another welcome inquiry to expand our economic base,” explained Clawson. “The positive feedback from the community and the assets we offer can go a long way to get the attention of the Illinois Department of Agriculture as they consider which application is appropriate for approval in our area.”
However, not everyone is so optimistic about the future use of a medical marijuana cultivation center.
“I’ve had a really difficult time coming to grasp with this,” said Commissioner Robert Warren. “I think we spend a lot of money every year on the DARE program educating our youth on drugs - being illegal or legal I’m concerned. I realize the laws have changed, but I have a hard time supporting that. I realize it could be a great source of revenue for the city, but morally and ethically I still have a big question mark in my mind.”
With that Warren voted not to endorse the location while Mayor Keith Cain, Commissioner Ray Mabry, Commissioner Ray Swanson, and Commissioner Joel Quiram votetd yes.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be reviewing all cultivation center applications in the fourth quarter of 2014, with announcements on the chosen locations thereafter.
In other city council news: -The council amended the Princeton city code to put in a stop sign at Meadow and Prairie Lane so motorists traveling northbound on Meadow Lane will be required to stop.
-Mayor Keith Cain appointed Sara Hudson to the Lovejoy Homestead Board.