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The price of pot: One Maryland town's hopes, concerns

A small, Western Maryland town has big hopes for medical marijuana. The crop could bring new jobs, but also unintended consequences. (WBFF)

HANCOCK, Md. (WBFF) -- A small, Western Maryland town has big hopes for medical marijuana. The crop could bring new jobs, but also unintended consequences.

Hancock is a town of 1500 people. The town once employed its residents in manufacturing and farming. Those jobs disappeared, leaving a depressed economy in Hancock.

Maryland’s General Assembly passed a medical marijuana law in 2013.

One of the pre-approved growers of medical marijuana, Harvest of Maryland, wants to open in Hancock.

“The medical marijuana seems to be a game changer,” State Delegate Mike McKay, who represents Hancock in the General Assembly, says.

FOX45 obtained Harvest’s grower application through a public information request. The application says the grower could produce over 120 new jobs in Hancock. Harvest says the town will own a piece of the company. McKay says the agreement will result in Hancock getting about 5% of Harvest’s profits.

Another delegate, Neil Parrott, does not buy into the economics of medical marijuana. More easily available drugs means more car accidents, and more overdoses, as people move from marijuana to opiates.

“To sacrifice our children on the altar of jobs is not something that is acceptable for Maryland,” Parrott says.

BuddyLou’s Eats, Drinks, and Antiques owner, Diane Smith, says she took a leap of faith in opening her restaurant in Hancock two years ago. She supports medical marijuana, and the new jobs it could bring, in Hancock.

“The more people working and making good money, they have to eat. They like to go out to dinner, celebrate a birthday,” Smith says.

The exact date for when the facility could open is unknown.

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