Neighbors say "No Thank You" to medical marijuana

By Amanda Porterfield |

Published 08/28 2014 10:16PM

Updated 08/29 2014 09:35AM

MONTICELLO -- A company is looking to build a medical marijuana cultivation center.

"This is sweet little Monticello. We don't need a pot facility in this town," says Martha Rowe.

However, not only do city leaders want one, they think it should go right near this couple's home. There are plans to build a facility next to the Piatt County jail. One couple who lives near there is worried about everything from lights to traffic to security; all things they hope the city and company consider before moving in.

On a nice evening, it's typical for Martha and Cledith Rowe to sit on their back porch just listening.

Martha says, "The birds singing and it's quiet and it's peaceful. It's just a wonderful place to sit."

A wonderful place the Rowe's say they saved money to build together from the ground up and have lived for the past 26 years. A place they're not willing to share with medical marijuana.

"It worries me to death. I haven't been able to sleep," says Martha.

Cledith Rowe says, "I thought I was going to have a heart attack the other night, thinking about it. I'll be honest with you, it's nerve-wrecking."

The 20 to 30 acres TKPP investment LLC is interested in buying is only steps away from the Rowe's home. Owners and city leaders call it the perfect place for a cultivation center. It's next to the Piatt County jail and off the beaten path.

"What happens to the water when we are trying to use it? What
happens to the trash? What's this going to do to the value of our home?" says Martha.

Besides those questions and many others this couple's main concern is security.

"I've done a lot of crying and a lot of praying. I don't want them back there. They can go down the road, go out in a field, but for heaven's sake not in my backyard," says Martha.

City officials say this building will be highly secured. Instead of a greenhouse, it will be made of brick and mortar with a fence bordering the entire thing, staff on hand 24 hours a day and video surveillance. But the Rowe's say that's not enough for their peace of mind.

"If they would never bring any sales, I would say maybe that's okay, but if they bring sales in, I am against it because you are going to get people coming in that's not always in their right frame of mind," says Rowe.

TKPP company reps say they're only buying the land for a cultivation center and, while it's not part of the original plan, they would be a logical partner for a distribution center if that's what the city wants.

TKPP says it plans to be good neighbors, however, the Rowe's don't want to hear it.

"This is home and I don't really want to go anywhere else but I don't want a facility back there. I don't," says Martha.

TKPP says there's a whole application process and they have to get approval to have the land zoned from the city board. That will happen September 4, then there's a full meeting about it on September 8. That's when many questions will be answered.

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