2 of 12 medical marijuana growing permits issued in Berks

Growers located in South Heidelberg, Reading

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Department of Health officials are notifying 12 applicants they've been awarded permits to grow and process medical marijuana, a landmark in developing the state's program.

The agency on Tuesday named the chosen entities that are scattered across the state, including two in Berks County.

"With today's announcement, we remain on track to fulfill the Wolf administration's commitment to deliver medical marijuana to patients in 2018," said John Collins, the director of the office of medical marijuana. "The applications from the entities receiving permits were objectively reviewed by an evaluation team made up of members from across commonwealth agencies."

Both Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, which will be located at 2 Corporate Boulevard in South Heidelberg Township, and Franklin Labs, which will occupy the former Pepsi plant at 1800 Centre Avenue in Reading, will serve the southeast region of the state (Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill counties).

"When you look at the heritage of Berks County and our agricultural economy, this is very, very important," said state Sen. Judy Schwank, a Berks Democrat. "This will give many people jobs. It is an agricultural product. We are very good at growing things, so I think all the way around, this is going to be a very, very good thing for Berks County."

Schwank said the establishment of Franklin Labs in Reading will also help to revitalize the surrounding neighborhood near FirstEnergy Stadium.

"Franklin Labs is eager to begin providing high-quality medical marijuana products to patients,"  John Pohlhaus, Franklin's CEO, told 69 News. "We are grateful to the support of the city of Reading in building a world class growing and processing facility to make high-quality medical marijuana products."

"Pennsylvania is now the fifth state in which the Franklin Labs-Canna Pharmacy team has won licenses through competitive application policies," Pohlhaus added. "We are already operating in New Jersey and Colorado and won recent license competitions in Maryland and Delaware."

The other 10 applicants that were awarded permits are:

  • Pennsylvania Medical Solutions LLC, Scranton, Lackawanna County.
  • Standard Farms LLC, White Haven, Luzerne County
  • Ilera Healthcare LLC, Waterfall, Fulton County
  • AES Compassionate Care LLC, Chambersburg, Franklin County
  • Terrapin Investment Fund 1 LLC, Jersey Shore, Clinton County
  • GTI Pennsylvania LLC, Danville, Montour County
  • AGRiMED Industries of PA LLC, Carmichaels, Greene County
  • PurePenn LLC, McKeesport, Allegheny County
  • Holistic Farms LLC, New Castle, Lawrence County
  • Cresco Yeltrah LLC, Brookville, Jefferson County

The growers will have six months to meet standards that show they are operational, after which they can begin growing.

"The next step for the permit holders will be to ramp up their operations so they can prepare to grow medical marijuana," Collins said. "Our teams will perform a series of site inspections before the locations can be certified as operational. Once that happens, the permittees will be able to begin growing and processing medical marijuana."

The health department said it would announce the first round of 27 dispensary permits by the end of next week.

The medical marijuana office received 457 total applications: 177 for growers/processors and 280 for dispensaries.

The state's medical marijuana law was enacted last year. Patients should be able to obtain the drug sometime in 2018.

The law lets patients take the medicine by pill, oil, vapor, ointment or liquid, but not in a form that can be smoked.

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