Arizona-based medical marijuana cultivator poised to save Maryland town
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -
Nestled outside of the hills of Flagstaff, a quiet, little horticulture business is growing marijuana and jobs.
Harvest, Inc. is an Arizona-based company that employs dozens of workers in Tempe and Flagstaff and is now looking to expand to Maryland.
"We're a fast-moving industry," said Harvest CEO Steve White.
Medical marijuana is now available in 23 states.
The current value of the legal marijuana market is $2.7 billion. That's a 74 percent increase over 2014.
Harvest's business is doing what it can to keep up.
"Each and every month it feels like something new comes around since this industry is moving so quickly," employee Brett Souraf said.
Souraf is one of 20 employees who work at the cultivation plant in Flagstaff. He started with an entry-level position and within just a couple of years was made a manager.
White said there will be more opportunity for growth as the company continues to expand.
Harvest is one of three companies vying for a cultivation license in Hancock, MD. The tiny town is home to just 1,500 people, but over the course of the past few years, the area has suffered devastating job loss.
Three industries have closed their doors, taking close to 1,000 jobs with them.
Harvest could provide the spark the town's economy needs.
"They understand that this is an industry and they need jobs," White said. "They have high unemployment. We're willing to invest millions of dollars in construction and into a labor force there, so it's a great marriage."
White said many of the jobs will be high-paying.
The town's mayor is excited for the opportunity.
"We see it as an economic engine," Mayor Dan Murphy told Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA. "[It’s] an opportunity for 125 jobs in a community that's just been devastated."
Harvest is expected to learn in January if it is granted the cultivation license.
Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.