EAST PEORIA — Even if Sorce Enterprises doesn't win the state "craft" marijuana lottery, the owner has learned something important in the process:
The city of East Peoria and his neighbors favor Roy Sorce's attempt to sustain the success of his long-established trucking company, by any legal means necessary.
"I really appreciate the support of the city council and city officials," Sorce said Tuesday. "I think they're sincere about wanting to help local business succeed and be a contributing part of the community. We're very excited about moving forward."
The City Council approved, with conditions, a proposal to operate a cannabis craft grower and infuser operation in the rear corner of the building that currently houses the Sorce Enterprises trucking business, 3201 N. Main St. In order to comply with a distance requirement of 1,000 feet between any cannabis operation and any day care service provider, Sorce has agreed to demolish a portion of the building to create the necessary distance from the day care facility located across Main Street.
The Zoning Board recommended approval of the special use proposal at its regular meeting last week. By a vote of 4-1 on Tuesday, the council approved the special use request. Commissioner Mike Sutherland continued his opposition to all cannabis proposals that have come before the council and voted in opposition to the special use request.
A craft grower operation can contain no more than 5,000 square feet of plants growing in a a 10,000-square-foot facility. By comparison, a cultivation operation, like the one in Delavan, can be as large as 210,000 square feet.
In addition to the 75 licenses the state will award to businesses to sell recreational marijuana in Illinois, 40 licenses will be awarded by July 1 to businesses that wish to grow smaller "craft" amounts of cannabis for adult use. The license also allows the business to extract the oils from the plants to produce edible cannabis products. By December, 2021 the state Department of Agriculture will issue up to 60 additional craft grower licenses.
The state will award the licenses based on the quality of the applications which assign numerical values to a list of qualifications, like meeting all zoning requirements, proposed hiring practices, diversity of the workforce and business plans for success.
"If you do things the right way you have a good chance of being awarded a license," Sorce said Tuesday. "I'm going to stay optimistic about our chances."
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org