Could state's first craft cannabis growing facility open in Wheeling?

Entrepreneurs want to open one of Illinois' first craft cannabis growing facilities in Wheeling.

The village board on Monday night approved a special-use permit for the proposed business, to be run by a Chicago organization called 1837 Craft Grow. It's proposed for an industrial building at 1480 S. Wolf Road.

A business called DGI Supply is there now.

The permit doesn't automatically mean the cannabis business is coming to town. It still needs a state craft growing license, said Jon Zitzman, a senior vice president with 1837 Craft Grow, who answered questions about the proposal Monday night.

Illinois hasn't yet issued any licenses for craft cannabis growers. The initial batch of licenses was supposed to be issued this summer but was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have said.

If it eventually opens, the business would provide marijuana to dispensaries that sell the drug to consumers and wouldn't offer retail sales, Zitzman said.

"We wouldn't carry a lot of inventory," Zitzman said. "It's just a manufacturing facility."

Zitzman's group is set to purchase the Wolf Road building, but he said that's contingent on getting a state license.

Converting the building for indoor cannabis farming could take four or five months, Zitzman said.

The first harvest could be ready three or four months after that, he said.

No licensed cannabis businesses operate in Wheeling now.

A representative of an apartment complex across Wolf Road from the site voiced concerns about smells that could emanate from the facility. But Zitzman's group has said it would use an air filtration system to reduce any odors.

Trustees approved the proposal unanimously. Village President Pat Horcher wished the Zitzman and his team good luck.

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No licensed cannabis businesses operate in Wheeling now, but a business called 1837 Craft Grow wants to open an indoor farm at 1480 S. Wolf Road. Courtesy of Wheeling
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