La Salle council approves craft cannabis farm

Facility would be strictly craft grown, not sell to the public

Jeff Scales, co-owner of Green Monk, speaks during La Salle's Planning and Zoning meeting on Monday night.

La Salle could be home to a new cannabis craft growing facility within the next year.

Green Monk LLC was granted Monday a special use permit at 745 Cannon Parkway in La Salle to operate a 55,000-square-foot cannabis craft grow facility.

The La Salle City Council approved the permit 7-1, with Alderman John Lavieri voting against.

This is a strictly craft grow facility, meaning no access to the public. It is an all secured facility where we will have 15,000 square feet of canopy to grow several strains of cannabis.”

—  Jeff Scales, co-owner of Green Monk

Lavieri said he voted against the facility because it’s illegal federally and he has a federal drug license.

“There is no proven medical use for it,” he said. “It’s all political. All the medical conditions that are approved for it are approved in Springfield by legislature, not by the Food and Drug Administration.”

Jeff Scales, co-owner of Green Monk, said the company was part ownership with eight established dispensaries in Illinois, including Spark’d and Dispensary 33 – the first licensed dispensary in the state.

Scales said the facility would be strictly craft grown and would not sell to the public.

“This is a strictly craft grow facility, meaning no access to the public,” he said. “It is an all secured facility where we will have 15,000 square feet of canopy to grow several strains of cannabis.”

Canopy space, which Scales referred to, means all areas occupied by any portion of a cannabis plant.

Scales said the facility is limited to growing 15,000 square feet of canopy max as part of being a craft growing facility. However, the state allows it to start at 5,000 square feet of canopy until the rest of the operation is up and running.

“Once the state approves us to grow another three … we need to get up small, prove that we can do it, prove that we know what we are doing and then they will let us expand,” he said.

Plans for the new 55,000 square foot cannabis craft grow facility located at at 745 Cannon Parkway in La Salle.

Scales said the facility will try to get up to that 5,000 square feet within the first year, but added that it will be mainly constriction.

He said the property will have a processing and packing facility and from there the product will be shipped out through a secure area to each of the dispensaries.

City Attorney James McPhedran told the council that Scales agreed to abide by any nuisance ordinances within the city and the state.

Scales said the facility would start with 20 to 25 employees and then it would be seasonal work as it harvests and need more employees.

“We do a cycled system,” he said. “We’ll have five harvests a year. Even though it’s a 55,000-square-foot building we are going to break them up into 1,500 square foot rooms. So, the process from getting to seedlings up to flowering, it’s a consistent process.”

Scales said that although the facility was a 55,000-square-foot building, only 15,000 square feet would be allowed for canopy.

“It’s not all for grow,” he said. “It’s for processing, packaging, marketing, all of the rest of it’s housed there. This is a hub center for packaging and packaging edibles and other products.”

Green Monk also was unanimously approved for the use of a solar farm during the council meeting.

“Along with that growing marijuana is a very high energy demand,” Scales said. “To run all the HVAC systems and all the lights and processing so to keep our carbon footprint neutral or even add back to the grid we want to put in solar farms.”

Scales said that part of why Green Monk chose a 50-plus acre property not only was to offset some of its carbon footprint, but also to use its solar field to pump electricity back into the grid for local residents.

“I think right now, we’ll be using about 15% of the solar field for our facility,” he said. “And the rest of it we’ll pump back to Ameren and the city of La Salle.”

Alderman Jordan Crane asked whether the project already had been engineered.

Scales said not fully because developers wanted approval from the city and the residents first.

“I was in another community four months ago and the neighbors were too close,” Scales said. “So we jumped over here. We’ve got our suppliers lined up, our growers lined up … we’re kind of ready to go,”

Mayor Jeff Grove said he thought the location was good and that he hoped they found La Salle welcoming.

“We’re glad you’re here,” Grove said.

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