Lehigh Valley

Forks Township prepares for medical marijuana

FORKS TWP., Pa. - Joining other municipalities across the Lehigh Valley, Forks Township is taking steps to control the location of possible medical marijuana businesses.

Supervisors Thursday night voted unanimously to advertise an ordinance that would regulate where medical marijuana growers and dispensers could set up in the township. The board will vote on it at its April 2 meeting.

Township Solicitor Wendy Nicolosi said the ordinance would restrict processor facilities, marijuana delivery, dispensing and academic research with medical schools to the employment center and town center zoning districts. Dispensaries would be required to be a minimum of 5,000 square feet to allow for truck deliveries.

Under state law, she said the township is required to define where such facilities can be established.

Forks Township has not yet received any serious inquiries from medical marijuana businesses, Nicolosi said.

Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana last year, allowing patients with serious medical conditions to access, with a registered physician’s prescription, medical marijuana at an approved dispensary. Up to 150 dispensaries will be allowed under the law.

Under the law, approved forms of marijuana will be limited to pills, creams and oils that can be used in a vapor. Registered physicians will be able to prescribe them for 17 qualifying diagnosed conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, autism, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and glaucoma.

The state began accepting permit applications for growing, processing and dispensing medical marijuana last month. The law is expected to be fully implemented in 2018.

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