Craft cannabis growing facility proposed in Wheeling

Now that Illinois is, at long last, granting licenses for craft cannabis growing facilities, a company is eyeing a vacant industrial building in Wheeling for just such a business.

With a state license already in hand, a Chicago-area outfit called NBCG Partners wants to launch a cultivation operation at 160 W. Hintz Road.

The 59,446-square-foot building last was occupied by AGSCO Corp., an industrial mineral and blasting equipment distributor that relocated to Libertyville.

The new business would provide cannabis to dispensaries that cater to consumers.

NBCG Partners is seeking a local special-use permit for the business, as well as variances from local building codes regarding fence heights, parking and other issues.

NBCG Partners representative Ross Morreale presented his company's plans Wednesday night to Wheeling's plan commission, which advises the village board on building and zoning issues.

Morreale is the CEO of Green Rose Advisors, a cannabis consulting and management company, his LinkedIn page indicates. He's also the co-founder and former chairman of the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois and a former executive with a different cannabis company.

After a genial discussion, the commission unanimously agreed to recommend the village board approve the requested permit and the zoning variations.

The village board will review the requests Dec. 6. If approved, the business could be operational within six to nine months, Morreale said.

The Illinois Agriculture Department started issuing craft growing licenses in August, about a year after initially planned. The licenses were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have said.

Forty licenses have been issued, including one to NBCG Partners. More are expected to be issued in December, a department spokeswoman said.

Although NBCG Partners are planning a craft growing operation, Wheeling officials are considering the proposed business a cultivation center, which allows for more product to be grown.

The distinction is needed because Wheeling doesn't allow craft growing businesses in general industrial zones. It does, however, allow cultivation centers that have special-use permits.

NBCG Partners isn't the first company to propose opening a cannabis growing business in Wheeling.

Last year, the village board approved a special-use permit for a facility at 1480 S. Wolf Road. The company behind that plan hasn't been granted a state license, records indicate.

A cannabis dispensary, Hatch, opened in April at 1500 E. Lake-Cook Road.

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