Daily Egyptian

Expanded marijuana cultivation center may bring further economic development to Carbondale

By Tyra Wooten

Carbondale city officials said they hope the expansion of a new medical marijuana cultivation center in the city will spark local economic growth.

City manager Gary Williams said the cultivation center, located east of the Southern Illinois Airport, is a legally licensed facility that grows medical marijuana for state approved medical marijuana dispensaries.

The center, owned by Ieso, Inc. was originally constructed in 2015 and is undergoing expansion.  

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“This facility will make it more convenient for local residents to purchase medical marijuana,” Williams said.

He said there is a Jackson County medical marijuana cultivation facility already in operation directly east of the Southern Illinois Airport.

“The facility provides for a number of high-paying jobs that are much needed in a high-poverty area like Jackson County,” Williams said.

Francis Murphy, general manager of Neighborhood Co-op, said he hopes the center will bring added economic interests to the region despite the stance Southern Illinois Healthcare has taken on prescribing the drug. Southern Illinois Healthcare services include cancer treatment, weight loss assistance and wound healing, but none of the services include medical marijuana use.

Michelle Bertinetti, outreach coordinator for Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center in Carbondale, said she believes though the opening of the marijuana center does bring economic development to the area, it also has a negative effect on illegal marijuana use.

“We don’t see addiction to marijuana that often, but we have seen an increase since they started the plants down here,” Bertinetti said. “Street marijuana may have different things mixed in it where the consumer may not be aware.”

She said medical marijuana has medical benefits, but it shouldn’t be openly used. She said the community needs to focus on the education and prevention of open marijuana usage.

“It may have medical benefits for certain individuals, but teenage population isn’t grasping that aspect,” Bertinetti said.

Staff writer Tyra Wooten can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @twootenDE.

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