HANCOCK, Md. - Thirty-five South Street in Hancock could soon be a new site for growing medical marijuana.
Town officials signed off on Harvest Inc.'s potential operation of a facility for cultivation and production, which would create 124 new jobs.
"They are looking at a $4.5 million payroll into our community each year when they get up and running for our people," said Daniel Murphy, mayor of Hancock. "So, this is a major thing for a little town of Hancock, which is economically depressed and has been for over 10 years."
The Washington County commission has also given its support, as the company applies for one of the state's 15 cultivation licenses.
"This story is really about developing a partnership with a town and really helping out a community; I think that is really unique about what we are bringing as a team," said Steve White,
Another community benefit could come in the form of the company's research institute and charity called Harvesting Hope, which supplies medical cannabis to children suffering from seizures.
"They want to do some of their community outreach in the market of drug education to try to help a small community," Murphy said. "They talked about everything from little league sponsorship - they really gave us that feeling that they wanted to engage our community and not just be here. "
Residents and county officials are excited to see more jobs in the area, but are concerned about the potential site's close proximity to schools.
"Nothing speaks higher than what our track record is on security, and we have been in operation for about 2 and a half years without a single security incident, ever," White said.
Shortly after all the paperwork is complete, Harvest officials said they will begin construction.
A public meeting is planned for Thursday, 7 p.m. at the Hancock Town Hall.
Harvest officials said they are aware of about four other companies who are interested in building a similar business in the county. According to the state's website, the first stage of approval is set for the beginning of 2016.