Elk Grove endorses plans from 9 medical marijuana companies
Nine companies are seeking to become either a seller or grower of medical marijuana in Elk Grove Village, but they'll have to compete with each other and likely many others to earn one of a limited number of state licenses to do so.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture began accepting permit applications from those seeking to open dispensaries and cultivation facilities on Monday. Regulators are permitting a total of only 21 cultivation centers and 60 retail shops statewide.
There's only one cultivation facility that will be allowed throughout all of Cook County, one in DuPage County, and one dispensing organization in either Elk Grove or Schaumburg townships.
The Elk Grove Village board on Tuesday endorsed development and operating agreements for five potential medical marijuana cultivation facilities and four dispensaries seeking to operate within village boundaries.
State law calls for medical marijuana sellers to be at least 1,000 feet away from schools and day care facilities, and growers to be at least 2,500 feet away. Neither operation can be located in residential areas.
Elk Grove officials say operators have sought to locate within the village's sprawling business park on the east side of town because its location fits within those parameters.
"There's not many towns in Illinois that have a half-mile distance between business and residential areas," said Mayor Craig Johnson. "We have a lot of areas like that."
Those hoping to set up a growing operation in Elk Grove include IL Grown Medicine LLC, Phoenix Farms of Illinois LLC, Calyx America LLC, Wellness Hospitality LLC and First Wave Wellness, LLC.
Those seeking to become a dispensary within Elk Grove include Illinois ABJ Dispensaries, Alternative Treatments LLC, Bloom Illinois LLC and Harborside Illinois Grown Medicine Inc.
Joe Dooley of Illinois ABJ Dispensaries, doing business as The Med Farm, said his company is proposing to open two cultivation centers and four dispensaries statewide. While any interested grower or seller can send in an application to the state, Dooley said state regulators will look upon an application more favorably if there's good business and security plans, support from the local municipality, and a commitment to giving back to the community.
As part of the agreements with Elk Grove Village, each proposed cultivation center has pledged $30,000 to the village for community events, $15,000 to the village's D.A.R.E. program, $15,000 to the Kenneth Young Center and $15,000 to Alexian Brothers.
All proposed dispensaries agreed to give $5,000 each to those groups.
The growers and sellers would also bring in tax and fee revenue to the village.
Johnson said at least two dozen potential operators have contacted village officials about locating in Elk Grove, and it's possible more agreements could be considered by the village board in two weeks.
The deadline to apply to the state is Sept. 22. Lawmakers have predicted that licenses will be awarded before the end of the year, with the first batch of medical marijuana ready to be sold by the spring of 2015.
Patients with at least one of about 40 qualifying illnesses, such as cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis, will be able to purchase the drug.