ILLINOIS: The prospect of adding jobs — even as few as 30 — has led officials in many shrinking Illinois’ communities to set aside any qualms about the state’s legalization of medical marijuana and to get friendly with would-be growers.
The aspiring growers and their agents have been racing from town to town, shaking hands with civic leaders and promising to bring jobs and tax revenue if they’re able to snag one of the 21 cultivation permits the state will grant this fall. Although not a single plant has sprouted, Illinois’ new medical marijuana industry is pushing the boundaries of what is considered attractive economic development.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a company say, ‘Hey, we want to bring in 50 jobs and we want to bring in tax revenue to your school,'” said Liz Skinner, the mayor of Delavan, a central Illinois city of 1,700 residents. The city has annexed property optioned by Joliet-based ICC Holdings as a possible site for a marijuana cultivation center, and Skinner said a new tax increment financing district may be the next step.