Pennsylvania Towns Hoping Medical Marijuana Will Replace Lost Steel Industry Jobs

Can marijuana save PA?

Pennsylvania
Photo by Flickr user Nicholas A. Tonelli

There is hope in Pennsylvania that the newfound medical marijuana industry may have the power to replace some of the jobs that were stripped away after steel manufacturers began to leave the area.

Braddock, which has been in economic decline ever since steel became a product of foreign trade, is now pushing to host one of the two state permits that will be issued to the region allowing the production of cannabis for the state’s medical marijuana patients.

If all goes well, the town could see a 100,000-square-foot medical marijuana grow facility, built on the location of an old housing project that was ripped down more than two decades ago.

“It would be a real game changer here in town if we were able to secure the facility,” Braddock Mayor John Fetterman told CBS News. “We have the ability as a community to take a giant step forward to have this facility here in town.”

The medical marijuana complex, which would be overseen by the Denver Consulting Group, would produce as much as 20,000 pounds of marijuana and 3,000 pounds of oil every year, according to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The facility would employ around 70 full-time workers and pour more than $1 million in tax revenue into the area.

The folks of Braddock may not be too far off base when considering legal marijuana a saving grace for the local economy.

Last month, a detailed market analysis provided by New Frontier Data showed the marijuana industry could soon resurrect the middle class — the foundation of the American economy — by creating more jobs within the next five years than the culmination of manufacturing and government positions.

However, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law only allows for 12 cultivation/ processing permits and 27 dispensary permits for the entire state – a bit small to make a significant dent in working class disparity.

But it is an admirable start.

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market is predicted to generate $125 million in sales during the first year of operation, according to the market research firm ArcView Group.

Although President Trump promised some Pennsylvania communities last year during his campaign that he would “put American-produced steel back into the backbone of our country,” experts say it is “highly unlikely” workers will see a comeback of the steel trade.

Therefore, it is absolutely crucial to the financial well being of generations to come for states and local jurisdictions to support the medical marijuana industry as opportunities become available.

The people of Wilmington, Ohio understand this concept.

Presently, the town, which has suffered economic troubles ever since the loss of DHL, is hoping that a medical marijuana production facility will be built in their community later this year. That 19-acre complex is expected to create as many as 220 new jobs.

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