WOOD RIVER - The City Council voted on an agreement Monday night to allow for a marijuana cultivation plant at EnviroTECH Business Park.
The council voted 5-0 to approve entering into an agreement with Largo Meds, LLC.
Mayor Fred Ufert said the city was approached by the company for their support in obtaining a license from the state of Illinois to cultivate medical marijuana so it could locate a cultivation plant within the city.
"We feel this is an opportunity for the city and it's a good location," Ufert said.
The facility will be located in the former tile plant at the business park at Illinois Route 3 and Route 143.
"Largo Meds has a tentative contract on the building should they be awarded the license," Ufert said. "The plans include renovation of the plant, along with hiring approximately 30 employees."
Ufert said only one license will be awarded in each of the Illinois State Police Districts. He said there are other locations being looked at within ISP District 11, which includes Madison, St. Clair, Bond, Clinton and Monroe.
The center would be part of the state's four-year pilot program to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to treat patients with debilitating conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Tourette's, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, agitation from Alzheimer's disease, Rheumatoid arthritis and others.
Products grown at the Wood River center would be sold at 60 dispensaries spread throughout the state. The facility would be enclosed and security present 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Ufert said job opportunities in the city and surrounding communities have declined during the past few years and this development would create needed, well-paying jobs.
"Anytime jobs are created in the community, it is a good thing," he said.
He said that employees are expected to make more than twice minimum wage.
City Manager Jim Schneider said that Largo Meds also has pledged to contribute annually to charitable organizations as well as offer grant programs to schools for technology and other programs.
"They are committed to helping the community in many ways," Schneider said.
He said the city also is expected to receive revenue from the plant, an amount that is undetermined at this time.
"I, as well as the rest of the City Council, support the organization's application," Ufert said. "We feel the location is good and it brings business into EnviroTECH.
"It is now legal to produce medical marijuana in Illinois, and one facility will be put in State Police District #11. So if we can reap the monetary benefits and the jobs that facility creates, why not try and take advantage of the situation."
The tile plant, which was the first business to build in the business park after it was built in the late 1990s closed in 1999. The city spent approximately $3 million on infrastructure in the park when it was built.
Currently, there are two businesses located in the park along with the city's yard waste facility.
For more information, contact Mayor Fred Ufert or City Manager Jim Schneider at (618) 251-3100.