Marijuana facility could bring jobs, millions in taxes to the area

Economic help is on the way to one of our areas most impoverished counties.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner recently approved a permit to grow medicinal marijuana to the group IESO, which plans to bring about 50 jobs to Jackson County.

IESO’s 50,000 sq. foot facility will be located northeast of the Southern Illinois Airport and will have a 23,000 square foot greenhouse, research lab, and a shipment area.

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens says he doesn’t feel marijuana will cure all of the state’s woes but it does bring one thing to his community.

“Well it’s jobs, obviously that’s the life blood of any community,” said Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens.

New jobs that the new marijuana cultivation facility is promising to immediately provide.

A quick search online quickly brings up hundreds of jobs available statewide, which Jackson County Growth Alliance director Jeff Doherty says could have a multi-million dollar impact locally.

“We’re looking at a five to six million dollar building,” said Jeff Doherty. “There will be improvements and if you look at increasing the tax base over time it’s going to be significant as in a million and a half to two million dollar increase in your tax base.”

It will join SIU’s Aviation School as the first two businesses in the new Southern Illinois Airport Tech Center.

Security jobs will be at a premium on the site when the cultivation facility opens.

“The security on this facility is going to be similar to that of a prison,” said Doherty.

“It will be fenced in, they will hire their own security, and as an airport entity, we will not have access to the building,” said Southern Illinois Airport Authority Chairwoman Elaine Vitello.

Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens says IESO’s original plan was to break ground in July, but they may try to expedite the process because Illinois’ medicinal marijuana program runs out in 2017.

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