Medical pot growers competing for Bartlett site
Four businesses hoping to produce medical marijuana in Bartlett are clamoring for a piece of vacant land in an industrial park to set up growing operations.
The state Department of Agriculture gets the final say on whether any producer can open in Bartlett. Considered one of the toughest in the country, the state's medical marijuana law allows up to 21 cultivation centers, or one in each state police district.
The grower that snaps up a state permit in the district containing Bartlett may have to beat out nearly 45 other applicants, officials say.
In order to get a leg up on the state's points-based application, the owner of the Brewster Creek Business Park hopes to secure village board approval on plans for a cultivation center before growers begin applying with the state in September.
Bartlett trustees on Tuesday night began what village officials called an accelerated review process and forwarded the proposals to the planning and zoning commission.
Elmhurst-Chicago Stone Co. owns the 10-acre property that has attracted four potential growers so far, including Illinois Organix and Nirvana.
The landowner says a medical marijuana grower would create 30 to 50 jobs, roll out tight security and craft a plan to give back to the community (the latter two help the business stand out in the state's application).
One of the hopefuls has pitched a 200,000-square-foot building -- the biggest out of all four.
"Generally, it's a big greenhouse," Community Development Director Jim Plonczynski said.
Trustee Aaron Reinke called for more complete proposals, although he acknowledged the businesses are waiting on their status with the state. The village board could revisit the issue in early September.
"We don't really have a lot of detail," Reinke said. " ... There's very little of any information presented to us."
Illinois allows patients with one of roughly 40 qualifying illnesses like cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis to buy the drug in limited amounts from up to 60 dispensaries.
The state plans to accept applications for growers and sellers from Sept. 8 through Sept. 22. Only draft versions have been posted online at mcpp.illinois.gov.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture will handle applications from cultivators, who must pay a $25,000 application fee, $200,000 permit fee for the first year of operations and then $100,000 annually, among other requirements.