Batavia leaders support medical marijuana grow center

Batavia leaders not only don't have objections to having a medical marijuana cultivation center in town, but they are supporting a company's application for one.

The city council on Monday authorized Mayor Jeff Schielke to send a letter of support for PharMar Farms LLC to the state agriculture department.

“We are impressed with the business acumen and organization and believe they can be a solid provider in the state's plan to furnish this needed treatment to the citizens of Illinois,” the letter reads.

“We are also pleased with some of the other impacts the project will bring here: additional jobs, removal of a vacancy in our industrial area and additional utility usage and thus revenue.”

The letter is part of PharMar Farms LLC's application to operate one of the 22 authorized cultivation centers in the state, at 1375 Paramount Parkway.

Mayor Jeff Schielke had extra chairs set up Monday in the council chamber, anticipating that residents might attend the meeting to protest the matter. But they remained empty; no one from the audience spoke about it.

The vote was 11-0, with aldermen Dan Chanzit and Dave Brown absent.

Alderman Susan Stark mentioned that the cultivation center could use $300,000 worth of electricity a year.

That would be welcome news for Batavia's electrical utility, which has excess capacity that it is selling for below-market rates due to a long-term obligation to buy electricity generated by the coal-fired Prairie State Energy Campus plant and coal mine.

“It's just another business on Paramount that you would probably drive by and never know what was in it anyway,” Stark said.

Schielke said the odds are long that the center would be in Batavia, because the state is only permitting one per state police district.

Batavia is in District 2, which covers Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and DeKalb counties.

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