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The McLean County Board denied a special use permit for a proposed medical marijuana cultivation center on Tuesday, saying it would be more like a factory than a farm.

According to reports, board members voted 15-2 to deny the permit requested by Tim Jones, who wanted to build the facility on land he owns near the central Illinois village of Downs.

Board member William T. Caisley says quote-"How many farms have 112 parking spaces and 61 hired men to farm ... and requires security?"

He added quote-"No reasonable secure watermelon or pumpkin patch has that. I think this is an industrial use proposed to be plopped down in the middle of agriculturally zoned property."

But member Laurie Wollrab, who voted in favor of the facility, said medical marijuana "is a legal product like flowers or button mushrooms we eat at meals. They're growing something, it's just a different product."

Jones, who blamed the denial on "fear and ignorance," said his proposal is dead, because the deadline to file an application with the state is Monday.

The county Zoning Board of Appeals held two days of hearings on Jones' request earlier this month and recommended approval by the County Board.

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