Medical marijuana grower coming to Elk Grove Village
Marijuana cultivation center to open on Greenleaf Avenue
Illinois Grown Medicine LLC, one of only two medical marijuana growers to be granted licenses in Cook County, plans to open a cultivation facility this year in Elk Grove Village's business park.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced this week that the Chicago-based firm was awarded one of the highly coveted cultivation center permits, and Elk Grove Village officials revealed that the facility would be located on Greenleaf Avenue, close to O'Hare International Airport. A spokesman for the state agriculture department declined to provide the exact address due to privacy and security concerns.
"We're the largest business park in the state," Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said. "We've got manufacturing of all types. It made sense for them to pick Elk Grove."
The company has 15 days to pay a $200,000 fee and $2 million bond for the license, and six months to get its operations going. It eventually will grow its own marijuana plants at the Elk Grove facility, but first it will have to get an initial crop from out-of-state growers.
When the company does, it'll be one of 21 cultivation centers statewide. The only other cultivation center in Cook County will be run by Bedford Grow LLC in the South suburb of Bedford Park.
About a dozen businesses approached Elk Grove Village officials last fall, seeking to become either a medical marijuana grower or seller in town. Officials believe the companies zeroed in on Elk Grove because the business park fits within zoning parameters established under state law.
"We thought pretty early on we'd get one," Johnson said. "They told us you're the dream town to come to."
Illinois Grown Medicine will be moving to a vacant building that is more than 100,000 square feet,
The company's development and operating agreement with Elk Grove Village spells out steps the firm must take to ensure its facility remains nondescript.
"The building will be designed in such a way as to not be identifiable as a cultivation facility," according to the 13-page agreement, approved by the village board last September as a condition of receiving a state license. "The building will be designed to look like other buildings in the business park with external enhancements."
According to the agreement, the facility won't have any signage besides address and directional signs. It'll be surrounded by a solid precast fence at least 8 feet tall, and a gate will be opened and closed for employees and delivery trucks. Loading docks will be inside the building, and dock doors will be closed while trucks are being loaded and unloaded.
Along with a state and village-required security plan, the Elk Grove Village Police Department has asked that the facility provide a connection to a security camera video feed of the building's interior and exterior.
The facility also will have a direct connection to Northwest Central Dispatch.
Johnson said the growing operation "will be done safely and at no risk to the community."
Village officials say the company is planning at least $4 million worth of improvements to the building, which will include security and lighting upgrades.
Elk Grove is due to receive 2.5 percent of the company's gross sales in its first three years of operation. In years 4-6, that number goes up to 3 percent, and after seven years, it's 3.5 percent.
Johnson said the village could stand to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from the so-called impact fee, which would be earmarked to capital projects.
Illinois Grown Medicine also must set aside a "site and infrastructure fee" to fund facility improvements to the building facade, landscaping, lighting and security. With the company's approval, the village might even be able to seek reimbursement from those funds for road and stormwater projects.
The company also is required to donate $30,000 to the village every year for community events, and $15,000 each to the police department's D.A.R.E. program, Kenneth Young Center and Alexian Brothers Foundation.
Alexian Brothers officials, when they learned of the donation offer last September, said they didn't intend to take the money since "a complex issue such as this requires a great deal of evaluation and consideration."
Johnson said the offer still stands, but if they decide not to take the money, village officials will find another charitable group.
Illinois Grown Medicine, a minority-owned company, received the highest score on its application to grow medical marijuana in Cook County. It was previously awarded a license to dispense medical marijuana in Hyde Park on Chicago's South Side.
Company officials didn't respond to a request for comment.