In Thawville

An Iroquois county man told the Ford County Board he has applied to the state to grow marijuana on five acres he owns in Ford County. Michael Crowley of Thawville told the board he won’t hear anything back from the state until July. Crowley said his request was turned down in Iroquois County.

He said he needs the board’s permission as a prerequisite for a state permit. He said the application process “has been an adventure so far. It’s a long shot.” He said he would be a “craft grower.” In response to board questions he said the whole operation must be “under roof” in some type of green house and he could create up to 10-15 jobs.

He emphasized that he doesn’t want to open a dispensary. He would instead be selling to dispensaries. So some employees might be processing the cannabis into other products like gummies.

Crowley said the state has just 12 growers now whereas California and Colorado have hundreds. The zoning committee will discuss Crowley’s proposal at its next meeting Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. in the small courtroom where the committee continues to discuss revising its wind ordinance.

In 2009 Crowley and his wife were accused of growing more than 2,000 cannabis plants in a farm field in Iroquois County. He pleaded guilty to a reduced charge and was sentenced to serve 180 days at the Iroquois County Jail and to pay a $40,000 fine.

Crowley pleaded guilty in Iroquois County Circuit Court in 2010 to one count of unlawful possession with intent to deliver between 2,000 and 5,000 grams of cannabis, a Class 1 felony.

As part of a plea agreement, that charge was reduced from a more serious Class X felony for possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis.

Two other felony charges were dismissed – one for unlawful possession with intent to deliver 30 to 500 grams of cannabis and the other for unlawful manufacturing of more than 200 cannabis plants.