More Interest in Growing Medical Marijuana in Stateline

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STATELINE (WIFR) -- We're learning more information about exactly how many companies are really looking at building a medical marijuana cultivation center in the Stateline. So far we've only heard of interest in Stephenson County but tonight we learn there's much more interest than that.

Boone and Winnebago counties also are getting interest from companies looking to grow medical marijuana however it won't be an easy process to bring one a center to either county. Winnebago county leaders say they're not really trying to bring that part of the industry to our county.

"Clearly we're interested," said county board chairman Scott Christiansen. "But we've not been out recruiting or anything of that sort. They're coming to us."

Christiansen says a developer has come to Winnebago County interested in growing medical marijuana near Rockton Road between route 251 and I-90.

"I get a little concerned when we're all of a sudden leaning on slot machines and marijuana growth to drive our economy," says the chairman. "I don't think that's quite the sustainable situation."

Gina DelRose works at the Belvidere-Boone County Planning Department. All interest in growing pot there runs through her office.

"Right now developers are showing interest in properties that have the proper zoning," said DelRose. "They're also looking for sites that have vacant buildings roughly a hundred thousand square feet that are move-in ready."

DelRose says a small group of companies are showing interest in a building at the Townhall industrial park on Morreim Drive in Belvidere and a vacant plot of land at the Crosslink Industrial Park, also on Morreim Drive. Both sites are near the city's Chrysler plant. DelRose says the problem is both spots don't meet the state's requirments for a license.

Boone and Winnebago county leaders say it'll be difficult to get a license approved without rezoning land which can be a lengthy process, Christiansen says probably too long for a company to even get an application down to Springfield in time.

A local developer says there will likely be 20 to 25 companies applying for the only license to grow the green stuff in our local state police district.

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