Batavia council supporting marijuana cultivation center
City council members back cultivation center application
A company that wants to open a medical marijuana cultivation center in Batavia will likely get a letter of support from city officials for its application.
The Batavia joint committees of the whole Tuesday voted 9-0 to support the application by PharMar Farms to open a center on Paramount Parkway. PharMar Farms intends to submit applications for three cultivation centers to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The city council will vote on the letter Sept. 15.
Alderman Dan Chanzit was absent due to illness; aldermen Lucy Thelin-Atac, Lisa Clark and Kyle Hohmann were also absent.
Mayor Jeff Schielke encouraged the aldermen to support the application. He said he consulted with physicians about the benefits of medical marijuana and spoke about the state regulations regarding required security and distance from residences.
Alderman Dave Brown, who voted in favor. asked how PharMar Farms would get seeds to start its plants, given it is illegal to buy them under federal law. PharMar representatives said they would probably obtain seeds or plant materials from growers in Colorado or Washington where medical marijuana is legal, but they admitted the issue is unresolved.
Paul Sestak of Big Rock is chief executive officer of PharMar Farms. He is a former vice president of Golden State Foods, a company that supplies food processing and distribution worldwide for restaurants such as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Starbucks. He said PharMar Farms founders approached him because of his experience running plants under Food and Drug Administration standards.
"We're not cannabis people going into business; we're businesspeople going into the cannabis business," Sestak said.