Pennsylvania

Marijuana could be the answer for onetime steel hub in financial trouble

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman says medical marijuana could help save his town.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman says medical marijuana could help save his town.  (Reuters, File)

When the U.S. steel industry fell apart, Pennsylvania’s Braddock Council President Tina Doose says so did many other businesses.

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“It just—there was a hole in our financial base, and we’ve been struggling to survive ever since.” 

It’s been 29 years since Braddock was named a financially distressed community by the state, but now there is renewed hope as the council officially backs medical marijuana producer Laurel Green Medical. The company will get ready to submit a formal application March 20 as it competes for one of two permits that will be given to the region.

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"There’s no certainty,” Doose said. "This is far from certain. This is a highly competitive process. There are no givens."

Agrimed Industries is also joining in on the competition by applying for a permit in Greene County in Southwest Pennsylvania. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman says the time to invest in the medical marijuana industry has come.

 "The small subset of people that are afraid of marijuana I think is continuing to dwindle, and I think we're moving as a nation to just taking the appropriate steps and just getting it over with and legalizing it," Fetterman said.

The Pennsylvania Health Department will announce a first round of permit approvals in late June. 

Pennsylvania is the 24th state with a comprehensive medical marijuana program. Gov. Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program into law in 2016, covering over the dozen terminal or chronic conditions. 

Michelle Chavez is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Pittsburgh.