Delavan Moves Closer to Medical Marijuana Facility

Published 07/01 2014 10:41PM

Updated 07/01 2014 11:02PM

DELAVAN - A town of 1,800 would generally be considered to be a long shot for a multimillion dollar business.

But Tuesday night leaders in Delavan moved one step closer in their bid to set up a medical marijuana cultivation center on the outskirts of town.

While a vocal minority says the city is continuing down a bad road, in the end, the idea that a medical marijuana facility could boost the local economy was what ultimately won out.

"What we like to say here in Delavan is that we're in the middle of nowhere and the center of everything,” said Mayor Elizabeth Skinner.

Delavan's city hall has been the site of a major debate, as council members are weighing whether to pass a special permit for a medical marijuana facility at the corner of Route 122 and Springfield.

Tuesday night was one final chance for residents to convince council to say no to medical marijuana.

"I really struggle with what it's going to be like when this stuff goes through,” said council member George Mitchell.

Although some residents expressed concern that a medical cultivation center could be a slippery slope for moral decline, the opportunity was too much for most of council to pass up.

But that was not the case for Alderman George Mitchell. He was torn between his choices and said no to the special permit.

"I think the line disappears very rapidly, certainly within the four, five years, if not sooner,” said Mitchell.

Most council members say that the $150,000 from property taxes every year for the city, and $50,000 for the school district, make this a worthwhile investment.

Many believe it won't lead Delavan down a dark path when it comes to its values.

"I think there are much larger levers, and I don't know if that moral decline is localized by the position of this particular facility,” said Mark Williams.

It was a decision echoed by many in the crowd.

"I think the school has a lot to do to better itself,” said David McDonald, a long-time resident.

This council made one thing clear: This is a medicinal survey. Members say they won't say yes to recreational.

Delavan is competing with cities in five other counties, although Mayor Skinner says no other serious candidates have emerged yet.

The city would learn in either September or October if it will actually receive the cultivation center. Mayor Skinner says at this time, there are no other serious competitors for the center.

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