Medical marijuana cultivation facility in Edgewood nearly finished
Photo credit: Stan Polanski / Effingham Daily News
The medical marijuana farm in Edgewood is nearly finished.
Located just off Route 37, the highly secure facility, surrounded by a barbed-wire fence and under the watch of surveillance cameras, will initially house four “grow rooms,” an “extraction room” and a kitchen. But as demand for medical cannabis increases, there is plenty of room for expansion, CEO Ashley Peterson said.
Because medical cannabis can be administered in multiple forms, employees at the facility will grow cannabis, and also prepare other products, such as edibles and concentrates.
Though the building’s floors are dusty, construction work is ongoing, and the rooms are largely empty. The inside should look like a well-guarded, sterilized greenhouse in a matter of weeks.
In a pod next to the facility, growers have been preparing various strains of cannabis. After building inspections by Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Agriculture, those strains will be moved into the facility. By January, if all goes according to plan, the first batch of medical cannabis should be ready to be delivered to dispensaries, Peterson said.
Peterson only has about five employees now, but hopes to hire at least 10 more employees once the facility is running. Those positions include security officers, delivery drivers, growers and administrators. After the plant’s website is launched, job openings will be posted.
Though the company operates under the name Effingham Medicinal Farms, Peterson said a new name will be announced once the state approves it.
While the company was blocked from locating in Effingham by city officials, a new dispensary, The Clinic Effingham, will soon open on the north side of town. Peterson said that she would like to supply Effingham’s dispensary with her company’s products.
Effingham Medicinal Farms officials have said progress with the growing plant was slow moving because of the limited number of patients with a medical cannabis license. But steadily, more patients have been getting a license — by about a couple hundred a month, Peterson said. Last month, the state had just under 8,000 patients.
Peterson and other members of her staff said Wednesday that they will be a responsible business, not driven solely by profits. They will look for local employees and plan to have a presence in the Edgewood community.
They say they have already received a warm welcome from Edgewood residents.
“That’s what I love about being here in Edgewood,” Peterson said. “Everybody is so welcoming, so friendly.”
Stan Polanski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-347-7151 ext. 131.