Daiven Kayne Michael Emling

Daiven Kayne Michael Emling of rural Rankin, who is a licensed medicinal marijuana user, smokes a cannabis-filled blunt. Emling is considering establishing a cannabis restaurant, bakery and dispensary in Rankin and plans to start a marijuana growing facility on his 6-acre horse farm just north of town.

RANKIN — Daiven Kayne Michael Emling fielded what he termed a “healthy mix” of both concerns and positive feedback about his plans to locate a cannabis cafe, bakery and dispensary in the Vermilion County village of Rankin during a public hearing last week.

“I think it went pretty good,” the 30-year-old rural Rankin man said after a few dozen people attended the Aug. 13 hearing at the Rankin Lions Club building. “We had a good ratio of people who had legitimate concerns and people who were all for it.”

Emling said he felt a majority in attendance were “at least open” to his business being located in the town of  617 people.

Resident Debra Savoni noted the sales tax revenue that such a business would bring to the village. While municipalities can prohibit cannabis businesses from locating within their communities, Savoni noted that it would be foolish to pass on such revenue when recreational marijuana use will be legal in Illinois starting Jan. 1 and “we aren’t going to be able to stop it.”

Savoni also said she does not feel that Emling’s business will bring any more “riffraff” to town than “we already have right now.”

Others, meanwhile, expressed concerns about Rankin lacking its own police force or kids gaining access to the cannabis that would be sold.

Emling responded to the concern about children having access to the drug by explaining that only adults age 21 and older will be able to buy marijuana, and the “only way children would be able to access it would be irresponsible handling of it by whoever had that product.”

Emling said he fully expected a “blend of complete naysayers who didn’t want anything to do with it and, of course, the ‘heck yeah, we’re totally for it’ crowd.”

Several village board members were in attendance, as well.  Board President Aaron Warren said the board will further discuss the matter at its next meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, at the Rankin Public Library. Warren noted that discussions are still in the “very beginning stages” about whether to allow the business in town.

Emling said Rankin is just one possible location for the business. He said he is also considering setting up shop in other towns nearby, or even at his own 6-acre horse farm located about a half-mile north of Rankin. It is at his farm where he plans to set up a cannabis growing facility that would produce the product needed for his cafe, bakery and dispensary operation.