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Lancaster dispensary opens as state weighs plant sales

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A Lancaster County medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors last week as state officials ruminate over allowing sales of the plant form of the medication.

Cure Pennsylvania - owned and operated by Derry Township-based Bay LLC - began serving patients by appointment only last Wednesday and Thursday at its Manheim Township location, with walk-in service available by Friday.

Like other dispensaries in the midstate, Cure opened its location with product from only one distributor - Butler County-based Cresco Yeltrah. But according to Cure COO Ryan Smith, supply has not been an issue for the dispensary because it did not rush to open immediately after it was approved by the state.

"Our concern, even three or four months ago, is if we do that, we’ll run out of inventory. We don’t want to run out of inventory then disappoint patients by not being open," said Smith.

According to Smith, the Lancaster County location was fully booked in its first three days, with 15-minute appointment slots available between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Smith said the best sellers have been vaporizer cartridges, pills, and concentrates.

In early February, Cure was the first dispensary in the midstate to receive final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to sell product to patients. Cure is also licensed for dispensary locations in Chester and Montgomery counties.

Cure’s March opening came the same week as news from the Department of Health that subcommittees for its medical marijuana advisory board discussed legalizing sales of the dried plant form of cannabis. According to a department spokesperson, the committee will issue its final recommendations to the Secretary of Health at the board’s meeting April 9.

According to Smith, the dried plant requires less work on the part of the processor and could channel more supply to dispensaries like Cure.

"We would definitely like to be able to see that and be able to offer another series of products to patients where we can potentially get into the lower cost medicine, and that’s simply because there’s less processing," said Smith.

Cresco Yeltrah co-founder Charlie Bachtell had earlier put prices for his company's products between $30 and $95, or $0.15 per single dosage. Efforts to reach the company for this article were not successful.

Customers at Cure rarely raised price as an issue and Smith said he expects the price of the medication to drop as more distributors open for business.

"Like any other market in the world, with more supply we’d probably see some moderation as well, and that will probably happen over the next three to 24 months," said Smith.

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