Franklin County community welcomes medical marijuana business

CHAMBERSBURG, FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. -- Medical marijuana is not only becoming a new business in the state but soon to be a growing business in two south central Pennsylvania communities.

The PA Department of Health granted two companies with a permit to grow and process medical marijuana in Taylor Township in Fulton County, and Chambersburg in Franklin County.

One growing and processing facility will be located right here along Interstate 81, but Chambersburg officials believe that's not the only thing that makes their community the ideal location for this new business.

Chambersburg, Franklin County beat out many other communities as one of only two places now allowed to grow and sell medical marijuana in south central Pennsylvania.

Chambersburg mayor Darren Brown "it's a little like winning the lottery, yes."

Chambersburg council president Allen Coffman said "I wasn't totally surprised because throughout this whole thing I think I probably had more faith than the people that contacted us that we would be selected."

Franklin County Area Development Corporation president Mike Ross said "York is a much bigger county, but proportionately, we have as much going on as York does."

The budding business for Pennsylvania is also good for Chambersburg's utility business.

" Chambersburg is the only municipality in Pennsylvania that has all the utilities of water, and sewer, gas and electric as part of our government," Brown said.

"All three could be used at this plant, especially the water because plants need a lot of water," brown added.

A site next to Interstate 81 in Chambersburg will soon be the home of a medical marijuana growing and processing plant called Grassroots Canabis.

"It's a $3.7 million purchase, but I think the long term economic benefit will be that of a fully operating production plant," Ross said.

It also brings what every community wants...jobs.

"I don't know what the numbers are going to be, maybe it's 20, 30, 40. I don't know, but anytime you can bring employment and good paying jobs to the area, I think that's important," Coffman said.

That comes along with what some say is most important above everything else.

"I think it's good for Pennsylvania, because Pennsylvanians can get the medical care that they need, that some aspects can only be available through medical marijuana," Brown said.

The long term side effects of the new facility may benefit the community.

"Typically, when we get folks to come down here, the first thing is, 'we had no idea anything was going on here.' There's a lot going on," Ross said.

"Whether people recognize them or not, the different towns, the different names, when they chose this area, they looked beyond that, and looked to see what we have here. I'm very proud of that," Brown said.

The Franklin County Area Development Corporation, which owns the property, will use money from the sale of it to spur more economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Chambersburg School District and borough will each receive about $20,000  each, from the real estate transfer tax.