CHICAGO — The prospect of adding new jobs has led officials in many shrinking Illinois communities to set aside any qualms about the state's legalization of medical marijuana and to cozy up to would-be growers.
The growers and their agents have been racing to introduce themselves to town leaders. They're promising jobs and tax revenue if they're able to snag one of the 21 cultivation permits to be granted by the state this fall under the state's new medical marijuana law.
Handshakes are happening across the state. Liz Skinner is the mayor of Delavan, a city of 1,700 in central Illinois, where leaders are supporting a proposed marijuana cultivation center. She says the community hopes revenue from the marijuana industry will keep the town alive.