Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Medical marijuana facilities to open in Rock Island

The Rock Island City Council approved to sell a second site within the city to A.Hanna LLC last week, a company hoping to gain approval to use the land as a cultivation center for medical marijuana.
In Illinois, there are 22 licenses being distributed throughout the state for grow centers, and within the district, which includes the counties of Rock Island, Knox, Mercer and Henry. There are currently five companies submitting applications.
“There are only so many viable locations in Rock Island, they have to be within 2,500 feet from schools, nursing homes and residential areas, so the southwest area is one of the only places you can have it,” said District Three Alderman Paul Foley. “It’s an industry that will be picking up here and I think it will bring a good amount of jobs to Rock Island.”
The agreement passed with a 6-1 vote with District Five Alderman Kate Hotle voted against the proposal for the 14-acre site at the northeast section of Andalusia Road and Illinois 92.
“We approved another agreement for another site,” said Holte. “That site is a very difficult property to sell so we approved that site. It would be a good opportunity to use this land and get tax dollars in Rock Island.”
The council also approved the sale of a site to Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries (GTI) in July, who plans to use the property for medical marijuana use as well. Hotle said GTI made a greater effort in connecting with the Rock Island community, discussing the potential growth and concerns that could arise if they are granted a license.
Among the 23 states in the country that have legalized medical marijuana, Illinois has the strictest regulation. In order for patients to obtain a license, they must go through a background check, examinations and diagnosis for any of 36 conditions. In addition, high taxes and fees leave some believing that this could limit any real economic benefit to the city, as most of the money will be turned over to the state and not the area itself.
The window for submitting applications opened up on Monday, Sept. 8 and the deadline is Monday, Sept. 22. A winner of the license isn’t expected to be determined until December or November of this year, and dispensaries are believed to begin operating in 2015.

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Medical marijuana facilities to open in Rock Island