Drug cultivation center pitched for Huntley

HUNTLEY – A Batavia resident wants to turn Huntley into one of the state's first destinations that would support marijuana cultivation – if the illicit drug ultimately becomes legal for medical use in Illinois.

Samuel Franzmann approached Huntley Village Board members during a committee meeting Thursday with the proposition of building a cultivation center that would mass produce marijuana for "sick and dying individuals" to have a better quality of life.

Franzmann told members he is looking for villages and cities around the Chicago area interested in housing one of the few cultivation centers that would be allowable under a bill awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature that would legalize medical marijuana.

"I want to make sure that I get my foot in the door and start talking to people to make them realize that I'm not some crook or drug lord trying to encroach on small town Huntley," Franzmann said.

Franzmann's proposition surprised many Huntley officials who are more accustomed to meeting with housing and restaurant developers privately before publicly revealing economic development plans.

Village Manager Dave Johnson said staff has been reviewing the legislation to figure out the proper ways to structure zoning regulations for medical marijuana growers. But he was uncertain whether the village would want to work with Franzmann and bring a center to Huntley.

"Certainly, it isn't anything that we have sat around and thought about attracting to our community," Johnson said.