Marijuana dispensary coming to CF area

The state of Pennsylvania approved a medical marijuana dispensary for the Chadds Ford area two weeks ago. The license went to GTI Pennsylvania, a licensed medical marijuana grower and operator of four other dispensaries in the state.

According to the state’s approval process, the dispensary is supposed to open within six months.

A RISE medical marijuana dispensary is scheduled to open in the Chadds Ford area within six months.

The address the state used is 68 Watkin Avenue, a residential property in Concord Township. However, the dispensary will likely not be at that location.

Tim Hawkins, GTI’s president of marketing in Pennsylvania, said there are a number of things that need to be worked out beforehand but that the location does need to be in the Chadds Ford area.

Getting the OK from the township would be no different than opening any other legal business in the state, he said.

“There’s no difference whether you’re selling hamburgers or medical marijuana,” Hawkins said.

The address situation comes from the application process, Hawkins explained, because Pennsylvania wants the dispensaries to be spread out in the state so that all potential customers would have access to a dispensary. One thing GTI can’t do in terms of locating the dispensary is to move it outside of the designated area.

“They look at demographics and make sure there are more dispensaries in areas more densely populated, and fewer dispensaries where it’s less populated…The state is making sure this is spread out throughout the state and making sure everybody in the state has equal access to a dispensary.”

Again, he stressed the dispensary does not have to go in at 68 Watkin Avenue, but just another suitable location within the area chosen by the state, one that is not within 1,000 feet of a school. The next step of the process is to identify an address that meets all regulations and that can be purchased or leased. From there, the application process moves to the state health department and the municipality approval.

To qualify for a medical marijuana card, patients need to fill out an application on the state’s website, have been under treatment for any of one of 21 different conditions and then get a doctor’s certification. For full details on getting started, go here.

Knowing what to get may be confusing, but Hawkins said GTI’s dispensaries — operating under the name of RISE — has a medical professional on duty at its dispensaries to evaluate and recommend what type of medical marijuana to buy. Those recommendations may be adjusted, for dosage or strain, depending on the patient’s reactions.

Once the store is open to the public, only medical marijuana card-holders may enter, Hawkins said. Prior to that official opening, however, there will be a soft opening for the press and general public to come in and see the facility. There will be no product or money in the dispensary until after that soft opening, Hawkins said.

GTI currently operates four RISE dispensaries in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania is one of 22 states that allow medical marijuana. Ten other states also allow adult recreational use.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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