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MD: Hancock Gets Medical Cannabis Grower Company

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Katelyn Baker

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Hancock - An Arizona-based medical cannabis grower has been granted a stage-one license to establish an operation in Hancock and has promised to share profits with the town.

Harvest of Maryland LLC, headquartered in Arizona, plans to locate at the Stanley Fulton Center in Hancock, the former home of Fleetwood Travel Trailers.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission announced Monday the names of the applicants who were chosen to receive a license. The commission awarded 15 grower's licenses and 15 processing licenses with Harvest granted a grower's license.

"We are pleased," said Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy. "It's a good thing for our little town. We're pleased to be literally on the ground floor of this medical cannabis industry in the state."

Hancock lists a population of roughly 1,500 and has been decreasing in population for many years since large industrial companies began exiting Western Maryland decades ago.

Headquartered in Arizona, Harvest is expanding nationally with license approvals for Nevada and Illinois, in addition to Maryland.

Murphy said the representatives of the company came to Hancock and explained the medical benefits of cannabis and how it is used to combat nausea, pain and seizures.

"I think it is a good thing medically," said Murphy.

The contractual arrangement with Harvest of Maryland is also expected to be a financial boon for residents. Murphy said that adding jobs was a top priority for the town but the profit-sharing is a bonus.

"That was set up with the contract to make us a 5 percent equity partner," said Murphy. "We actually brought the town in with it. We won't be voting members on their board but we would share if there is a profit. It is a little bit of financial gain for us. It's a a win-win situation."

However, the announcement has been tempered by concerns raised after a decision made by the cannabis commission in the spring. The commission decided to disassociate growers from processors and license the activities separately. Many medical cannabis companies created their business models on being able to do both parts of the business. A firm that can both grow and process product expanded their profit opportunities and would utilize more employees.

Murphy said Harvest had estimated a growing and processing operation in Hancock would employ more than 100 jobs.

"When we started the process, we were talking about 120 jobs," said Murphy. "That was when we were talking about growing and processing. But not knowing how the process work, I don't think just growing will provide as many jobs. You don't know. To me they were hand and hand. You sent it out as a seedling and send it in a box to the dispensary.

"So it's been a little bittersweet," said Murphy. "It won't amount to the jobs we hoped."

Despite the many questions to be resolved, Murphy is pleased with Harvest of Maryland officials.

"They are proven in Arizona," said Murphy. "When we had our public meetings, we wanted to convince people from the get-go. They brought people in from Arizona for a meeting."

Murphy said a women came and spoke about the improvements in the quality of her life from medical cannabis. A seizure patient, the woman moved to Arizona to get the medicine because it reduced her seizures.

"She is now leading a near normal life," said Murphy. "We were impressed with their track record. They have proven themselves."



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Full Article: Hancock Gets Medical Cannabis Grower Company
Author: Greg Larry
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