Since the passing of Act 16 or Senate Bill 3 in 2016, the business landscape in Pennsylvania has been preparing for the great changes that medical marijuana or low concentration THC cannabis will bring to thousands in need. Just recently, there was an article published about the scientifically proven impact that medical cannabis has on epilepsy patients—in that episodes of seizures significantly decreased after taking prescribed amounts of medical cannabis pills.
This is welcome news to the many entrepreneurs in the States that already allow for the growing and dispensing of medical cannabis. Now, Pennsylvania is posed this year to formally legalize growing and dispensing to patients, most importantly seniors and children, who suffer from such maladies as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, glaucoma, sickle cell anemia, and for serious conditions related to autism. While there are medical options for some of these diseases, others face the devastating reality that there are very few. It is about time more pain management options will become available.
As the Pennsylvania Department of Health gets set to approve applicants as growers and dispensers, the focus then will shift on the location of where each will be. In the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, there will only initially be 2 grower permits issued and 4 dispensary permits issued. Throughout the state according to the PA Department of Health, only 12 permits will be issued initially for growers and 27 permits for dispensaries. Surely, the Pennsylvania Legislature was overly conservative in its issuance of permits, which will most likely lead to a backlog of patients in need of cannabis oils, pills, or inhalers. Hopefully, the Governor and the Legislature will see the immediate positive impact of patient usage and the potential to generate greater revenue for State and local agencies.
Since there is so much information now available on medical cannabis and so many companies that are researching even greater ways to bring products to the market for a variety of other ailments, the unfounded fear of widespread regular marijuana use and a resultant population of hallucinated wanderers cannot persist. It is the THC in marijuana that causes hallucinations and “getting high”. The amount of THC in medical marijuana is in many cases less than 0.5%. Plus, it appears from states that have legalized that the prescriptions issued are very well controlled in cases of patient abuse. In reality, we are looking at seniors who want to spend their final years in peace and with less pain, who will be hoping to cut down on synthetic pain pills, and instead substitute medical cannabis pills in many cases. We will see families with children who suffer epileptic seizures control the intake of what their child ingests, and hopefully there would be less episodes of a sudden, nerve-wracking seizure attack.
We believe that for providing grower services to a region, as well as dispensary services to a locality, Monroe County must be given serious consideration. The northeastern part of the state includes a 10 county area. From Monroe County, one can access Interstates 380, 80, and 476 quite easily. More to the point, our property boasts incredibly wonderful visibility, especially for a grower. The instant access to State Route 611 is ideal for logistical planning of product distribution—to help get to the major interstates very quickly. With a location like ours, a grower should proudly display its environmentally friendly industrial presence. After all, growers have a very important role in helping to make people’s lives less painful. The zoning on this property allows for a conditional use for greenhouses and the such. Since the medical cannabis industry is very new, most municipalities have not changed their ordinances in specifically identifying medical cannabis growing facilities and medical cannabis dispensaries.
For the dispensary, we have another property on Route 196 that is commercially zoned, and as a dispensary is in essence a specific pharmacy, it should qualify automatically as a permitted use. The parking and visibility are outstanding, and its easy access location will be a welcome relief for patients.
Neighborhood resistance is only a symptom of misinformation and lack of due diligence. Once that has been overcome, construction can begin in earnest. Jobs will be created. Tax revenue will be collected. Patients will seek a more natural and ever-evolving scientifically supported means to live life with a calm that was not available before. Pennsylvania and Monroe County will be better for it.