State's first medical pot grower permits mostly outside major cities
Pennsylvania's first recipients of medical marijuana grower/processor licenses were announced Tuesday, and most are in rural areas or small communities away from major cities.
In the midstate, there were no successful applicants in Dauphin, Cumberland, Lebanon, York or Lancaster counties. The nearest license winners were in Franklin and Fulton counties to the west and Berks County to the east.
Other than four with addresses in the Scranton, Reading and Pittsburgh areas, the newly minted pot purveyors seem to be located at the fringes of the state's six medical marijuana regions.
At least that's what we can tell from the lists provided by Pennsylvania Department of Health officials.
That list only included the names and addresses of limited liability companies, with health officials saying they would release more information at a later date.
During a press conference at the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon, John Collins, director of the state's Office of Medical Marijuana, said two awardees were chosen for each of the regions, without regard to where in each region they were based.
- Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, LLC, Berks County
- Franklin Labs LLC, Berks County
- Pennsylvania Medical Solutions LLC, Lackawanna County
- Standard Farms LLC, Luzerne County
- Ilera Healthcare LLC, Fulton County
- AES Compassionate Care LLC, Franklin County
- Terrapin Investment Fund 1, LLC, Clinton County
- GTI Pennsylvania LLC, Montour County
- AGRiMED Industries of PA, LLC, Greene County
- PurePennLLC, Allegheny County
- Hollistic Farms LLC, Lawrence County
- Cresco Yeltrah LLC, Jefferson County.
State law allows the Pennsylvania Department of Health to grant up to 25 licenses for growers and processors and 50 licenses for dispensaries, but the amounts were cut in half for what the department is calling phase one of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program.
The department received 457 applications overall, officials said, including 177 for grower/processor licenses and 280 for dispensaries.
Officials will announce winners of 27 dispensary permits by the end of June, Collins added.
The department divided the state into six regions, or districts, for the purposes of awarding licenses and managing the system.
Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon and York counties are in the South Central Region 3, which includes a total of 13 counties.
The Region 3 winners were AES Compassionate Care LLC, of Chambersburg, and Ilera Healthcare LLC, of Waterfall, in Fulton County.
Lancaster County is grouped with the Southeast Region 1, which includes eight counties in the greater Philadelphia area. Its winners were Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania LLC, Sinking Spring and Franklin Labs LLC, Reading.
"With today's announcement, we remain on track to fulfill the Wolf Administration's commitment to deliver medical marijuana to patients in 2018," Collins said.
He said the applications were "objectively reviewed by an evaluation team made up of members from across commonwealth agencies," but would not elaborate on whether there was a vetting process for applicants.