Will a medical marijuana farm be coming to Marissa?

News-DemocratJune 6, 2014 

AP GRAPHIC

The small, rural town of Marissa may host the first proposed medical marijuana farm in St. Clair County.

A proposed medical cannabis cultivation center would be built upon 12-plus acres along Illinois 13 in Marissa.

Norwin Heimos, who owns greenhouses in Millstadt and St. Louis, and Mara Meyers would operate the center.

It would be located across the street from the Marissa Masonic Lodge.

Heimos and Meyers could not be reached for comment. The center must receive a special-use permit from the County Board before applying to state officials, which grant final approval for such centers.

One of the proposed center's neighboring property owners, Jimmy Baker of Red Bud, said he is concerned the center will lower property values, cause traffic problems and create other problems.

"I'm worried about the kind of people you are going to attract to an area like that. There's undoubtedly going to be some undesirables," Baker said.

Another neighbor, Frieda Feig of Marissa, said she also has concerns about the proposal and is reserving judgment until hearing more information from the owners.

State and county rules require a host of security measure to be enacted at cultivation centers, including a live security camera surveillance viewable by state police. Cultivation centers also must be in a locked and enclosed facility.

An informational meeting regarding the proposal -- hosted by Marissa village officials and the center's proposed owners -- will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Marissa Masonic Lodge.

Members of the county's Zoning Board will review the proposal during a meeting at 7 p.m. June 16. Baker said he believes the hearing is "just a formality" and the proposal will receive approval.

"I'm just thinking it's a done deal whether people in the area like it or not," Baker said. "These politicians are going to do what they want and it's not going to be for the good of the people in the area."

Only one cultivation center will be allowed per state police district. The local state police district includes St. Clair County along with neighboring Madison, Bond Clinton and Monroe counties. Up to 60 dispensaries of medical marijuana will be hosted around the state as well.

In August, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the use of medical marijuana to treat debilitating conditions such as HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and others.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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