BARRY, Ill. – A 75,000 square foot medical marijuana manufacturing and research facility is one week away from growing marijuana and studying the science behind the cannabis.
Revolution Industries CEO Tim McGraw called it the most sophisticated, technologically advanced facility in the world. It’s two hours from St. Louis, in a small town of 1400 people called Barry, Illinois.
A long winding road takes you up to the edge of the cornfields that sit across from the warehouse like building. The owners of this cultivation center believe they’re in place where progress meets a purpose.
“I never thought I would see this day” said Brenda Partridge.
She cried and clapped as McGraw addressed the crowd.
“43,000 Americans died from pharmaceutical overdoses, and 22 veterans commit suicide everyday,” because he said, they were prescribed anti depressants and opiates.
He called marijuana “one of the most effective and least toxic medicines known to man.”
Partridge said medical marijuana has been her saving grace.
“I’ve had open heart surgery I suffer from neuropathy. I started having heart attacks in my thirties, I have permanent nerve damage in my extremities,” she said. “I had a rare bypass that decreases my life expectancy. I want to live out the rest of my life, whatever I have left, the best I can. We have been to many doctors and been given many medicines,” she said.
She is in pain all the time.
“When you want to commit suicide and nobody cares, its no way to live,” she said as she wiped away the tears.
The cost of her health has cost her so much more.
“I lost my house, I lost my job, I’m not insurable, I have catastrophic expenses,” she said.
The cannabis gave her relief. She could stop the shakes in her legs and she could eat again she said. It’s the only medicine that gives her son relief too.
Brandon Clements is a veteran. He was a Blackhawk helicopter engineers in the navy when he suffered a traumatic brain injury. He said he was jumped with a bat. Brenda and Brandon said they need cannabis, not the pain and anti seizure medication that’s ruled their lives and left them with side effects. They came to the grand opening of the Revolution Enterprises cannabis cultivation center because they see hope in their struggle. “We aren’t alone,” they said.
“This facility will provide life saving medications to even more patients, this facility was built for one reason: to advance the science of cannabis,” said McGraw. “PTSD, autism, epilepsy, all the conditions that are greatly helped by cannabis, not a lot is understood why it’s helping,” he said.
He’s hiring 60 people for the plant from trimmers to scientists to grow and study cannabis in the $23 million facility.
The state of Illinois licensed McGraw.
“The technology and capability don’t exist anywhere else, we are buying machines no other cultivator bought, so we know this is the most advanced facility in existence,” said McGraw.
Security at the plant will be almost impenetrable. There are 154 cameras and it is monitored by the company, the Illinois state police and the Deptment of agriculture. State lawmakers legalized marijuana but the rules are so restrictive only 2500 patients applied for a license.
Governor Rauner is reconsidering the restrictions. McGraw’s cannabis research depends on patients. Brenda and Brandon are depending on easier rules so they can finally use cannabis without hiding. There are only 20 licensed facilities in the state of Illinois. All are heavily regulated.