ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — A new industry is growing its roots in Rock Island and investing millions.

More than 130 people showed up at a job fair for Green Thumb Industries at Jumers on Monday. The company announced an $8 million expansion of its facility late last year, but city officials say now that’s adding up to a $17 million investment.

As the job fair was wrapping up, city council members voted to amend the tax incentive plan for Green Thumb Industries, allowing them two extra years to pay back their tax break.

City officials say it’s worth it because they’re bringing in more jobs.

Green Thumb Industries spokesperson Kristina Bedard said they are looking to fill 20 positions right now, which include maintenance, technician, processing, technician and managerial positions.

“We’re nearing 100 employees, which is about 50% growth from last year,” Bedard said. “The growth, it happens so quickly and you don’t even know it and all of a sudden it’s there.”

Bedard said three pieces of Illinois legislation led to their growth: legalizing adult use, the Opioid alternative program and the revamped medical marijuana program.

“We’re going to be super busy,” Bedard said.

Many applicants said they’re excited about the opportunity.

“I think it says that it’s going to be huge. I think it’s something that the state really needs,” said job applicant Heather Williams. “I think it might help out a little bit and create some jobs.”

Nevada added 7,500 jobs the same year it legalized adult use. Florida added 9,000 after legalizing medical marijuana.

“It’s kind of a good time to get you foot in the door with something like that,
Williams said.

Anthony Barnett said he wants to be a cultivator so he can grow something that helps people.

“My grandmother started using. She had cataracts on her eye. She was going through cancer treatment,” he said. “So it just helped a lot.”

Rock island mayor Mike Thoms says Green Thumb Industries is transferring some of their jobs in Chicago to Rock Island. City documents also show the company is already planning a second expansion.