Flora City Council backs down on approving a real estate contract with Deerpath Development, LLC to develop a state licensed medical marijuana cultivation facility

The discussion became rather heated as several concerned citizens attended the Flora City Council meeting Monday evening and voiced their opinions regarding an ordinance contained in the consent agenda to pass an ordinance approving a Real Estate contract with Deerpath Development, LLC. Deerpath Development is seeking to purchase 11.6 acres of land from the City of Flora to establish a state licensed medical marijuana cultivation facility.
Brandi Tolliver was the first to address the council and said she had some concerns about where the facility was to be located. She said her concern was that it was too close to the new elementary school building.
"The location you chose is crazy," she stated. "There are lots of other places you could have chosen."
Dan Kuhlig said the "credibility of the issue was the thing." When he approached City Hall about the proposal he could find no one who knew anything about it.
Kari Thackery noted she didn't feel that the facility should be located inside the city limits. She added that she is proud to be from Flora, IL and if the facility is placed here, she might not be so proud to be from here anymore.
"I feel it will hurt more than it's going to benefit," Trudy Koontz added.
WNOI Station Manager Randy Poole said he objected to having the proposal in the Consent agenda between an ordinance to approve tree trimming and an ordinance to approve a street closure for Appleknocker.
He also stated he felt the Council should also discuss the issue before approving the Real Estate contract with the development company.
"Let's discuss it," he said. "And answer these people's questions before you vote on it."
Commissioner Jerry Stringer commented from another point of view. He related that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago and went through chemo therapy.
"We had no access to medical marijuana then," he noted.
Commissioner Norm Henderson noted his wife has cancer now and noted that if she needed medical marijuana he would want her to have it.
Commissioner Ed McCormick commented that the proposed facility "would rival Fort Knox" and would be monitored by the Illinois State Police 24 hours a day. There would be one cultivation center in each of the State Police Districts in Illinois and added that there are other towns bidding for this within District 12.
He also noted the drug seems to help children with epilepsy.
He agreed that the Council should "put the brakes on a little bit and recommended the issue be pulled from the agenda for now.
Mayor Bob Tackitt stated the proposed facility would be a $12 million capital investment. He noted the facility would be secure and would use "lots of utilities".
"Each plant is monitored and accounted for," he stated. "We're not talking about cigarettes here, we're talking about pills. And the advantages outweigh the disadvantages."
The facility would also provide 50 good paying jobs.
He also indicated the statute says these types of facilities can't be within certain distances of schools and churches.
"Time is of the essence," he related, and stated there are three other proposals in other towns in District 12.
Mayor Tackitt noted the company has 30 days to submit building and security plans to the state.
And added, "Just because they're applying doesn't mean they will get it."
The Council agreed to pull the proposed Real Estate contract from the Consent Agenda and to check into their options. A special meeting to further discuss this proposal was scheduled for Thursday, July 24 at 4:30 PM.