In the western and rural parts of Maryland the impending launch of a state medical cannabis program has people thinking beyond the opportunity for medical treatment. To some it offers an opportunity for economic development and jobs. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:
It isn’t just compassion for suffering patients that is driving the acceptance of medical marijuana in Washington County, though that is one factor. Here and in other rural counties from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, officials are looking at cannabis grower-processors as sources of jobs rather than purveyors of vice.
Unemployment in this county has eased since it soared into double digits during the recession. But at 6.1 percent, the rate is still higher than the statewide average of 5.6 percent. And many residents have to commute 90 minutes or more to jobs in or near Washington. Decent-paying jobs closer to home are much in demand.
“Out in Western Maryland, we’ve been deprived and depressed a lot,” said Commissioner John Barr. That history has helped shape reaction to the possibilities created by Maryland’s legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.
“We view it as an economic development opportunity,” Barr said.
As reported in The Cumberland Times-News:
“ We have written the State (Medical Cannabis) Commission to see exactly what rights the county has in the process. Any one coming to operate in Allegany County will be treated like any other business wanting to locate in the county,” Valentine said. “All existing codes will need to be followed. The state will have very clear mandates for all growing operations that will have to be met,” Valentine said.
Commissioner Jake Shade agreed.
“If a company is able to go through the very competitive process of obtaining a license through the state, including the security requirements, then they will likely be able to move forward,” Shade said.
“I would like to see a legitimate company that can comply with all state regulations and that is willing to make a significant investment in Allegany County, not some inexperienced and low-budget operation,” Shade said.
The Maryland Medical Cannabis Program will be discussed at the MACo Summer Conference in the session entitled, “Medical Cannabis Comes to Maryland”. The session will be held from 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm on Thursday, August 13, 2015. The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 12-15 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.
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