The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced awardees of 27 dispensary permits throughout the state, including three in Philadelphia and nine in surrounding counties.
Permits in the immediate area include:
PharmaCann Penn, Restore Integrative Wellness Center and Holistic Pharma in Philly. Two dispensaries - Ilera Healthcare and TerraVida Holistic Centers - are heading to Montgomery County. Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Berks and Lancaster, Lehigh and Northampton counties will each get one dispensary.
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Conspicuously missing from that list was Snider Health, spearheaded by the relatives of former Flyers owner Ed Snider. His daughter, Lindy, was an early investor in the industry and has been vocal about joining the Pennsylvania market after already having business interests in other states.
She told NBC10 in the spring that she hoped to change people's minds about medical cannabis and shape the nascent economy in her home state.
“Being a family that’s been very involved in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia for a long time both in business and in philanthropy, we see [medical cannabis] as an unbelievable sort of dovetail of both those things,” she said.
Those who were awarded permits have six months to become operational. Each dispensary permit holder can open a total of three locations, though some have opted to not open all locations immediately.
“This has been a highly competitive process and the department received hundreds of quality applications,” said John Collins, director of the Office of Medical Marijuana.
“Once this program is fully operational, patients with serious medical conditions will have locations throughout the commonwealth where they can purchase medication to help in their treatment. We remain on track to provide medication to patients in 2018.”
Philadelphia Councilwoman Cherelle Parker said she is "extremely disappointed" about one of the city dispensary locations. The dispensary in question will be located at 8913 Stenton Ave. near Ivy Hill Cemetery and Crematory. It's one of three dispensaries approved for an organization called TerraVida. In April, several residents complained during a public hearing that adding a dispensary would only fuel traffic, litter and parking concerns.
"The community and I remain vehemently opposed to this site, given its close proximity to a daycare and a myriad of other serious concerns expressed by neighbors, including public safety, security, parking and traffic," Parker said in a statement. "This is not a debate about the merits of medical marijuana – which the community and I both support – but it is solely about the proposed use at this location."
State Rep. Chris Rabb, a Democrat who represents East Mount Airy, also denounced the Stenton Avenue dispensary.
"I have grave concerns that revolve around public safety issues related to a cash-only business that will be open 7 days per week with armed guards on a corridor not unfamiliar with violent crime," he said in a statement.
"I recently closed my district office for the afternoon to go door to door with my entire staff to inform residents about this matter and my strong opposition to the proposed location of this dispensary despite my support of medical cannabis itself."