State Department of Health employees had the day off Monday in observance of President's Day, but they will likely return to full mailboxes Tuesday since Feb. 20 marked the first day medical marijuana business hopefuls could submit their applications.

The department will  be accepting applications until March 20 from an estimated 900 applicants seeking up to 12 grower/processor permits and 27 dispensary permits.

In anticipation of this hyper-competitive process, several hopefuls have become publicly known as they seek permission from municipalities to locate their future facilities in their boundaries.

Department officials have not said whether or not securing such permissions would give companies an advantage, but the application does ask whether the applicant has "the ability to obtain in an expeditious manner the right to use sufficient land, buildings and other premises and equipment to properly carry on the activity described" in the medical marijuana program guidelines.

One York County company has already received that permission, as Hellam Township officials approved Viridis Medicine LLC's plan to build a nearly 50,000-square-foot medical cannabis growing/processing facility at 6287 Lincoln Highway.

Five-Leaf Remedies Inc., whose investors include several well-known county residents, is working to obtain the same permission from York City officials for a proposed growing/processing facility at 213 E. Poplar St.

The benefit corporation's plans are expected to be discussed at the March 13 York City Planning Commission meeting and March 16 Zoning Hearing Board meeting. Both will be held at 6:30 p.m. at York City Hall, 101 S. George St.

A York Township couple also sought permission to locate a growing/processing facility at their Windsor Township property, but township officials denied the request because of their interpretation of the zoning ordinance. An attorney representing the couple said they are seeking alternative locations but declined to provide specifics.

Five-Leaf and Viridis  also have  expressed an interest in opening dispensaries. The department is allowed to issue dispensary permits to no more than five companies that are  awarded a grower/processor permit.

According to the department, each dispensary permit owner may open up to three dispensaries, but each must be located in a different county within the same region.

York County is part of a 13-county region that includes Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Lebanon and Perry counties. The region is slated to receive two grower/processor permits and four dispensary permits, one of which is earmarked for York.

Here is a roundup of medical cannabis business action taking place around this region, based on local media reports:

  • Viridis Medicine is seeking to open a dispensary in Franklin County, according to a report from The Herald-Mail. A spokesman for Viridis told the media outlet that they are negotiating a lease for a property in Chambersburg but declined to give the exact address.
  • A company called PA Options for Wellness is seeking to locate a growing/processing facility in Perry County, according to a report from PennLive. The Dauphin County company proposed building the facility in Penn Township and met with township officials during a special meeting in January to discuss the proposal.
  • An anonymous organization secured property in Dauphin County to open a dispensary, according to a report from the Central Penn Business Journal. The facility would be in Steelton, which had previously passed an ordinance to allow medical marijuana businesses to operate in the borough.
  • Representatives from a company called Adams Compassion Care presented a plan last August to locate a growing/processing facility in Adams County, according to a report from The Gettysburg Times. The group described their plans for the facility at a Cumberland Township Supervisors' meeting.
  • An Air Force veteran announced last June his intentions to open a dispensary in Dauphin County, according to a report from abc27. He presented his proposal to Middletown Borough Council members.
  • A company called SusqueCanna Pharma hopes to locate a growing/processing facility at Wharf Road Industrial Park in Franklin County, according to a report from The Waynesboro Record Herald. Investors met in December with Washington Township officials.
  • In Cumberland County, Carlisle Borough Council members approved an ordinance to create a designated medical marijuana processing and production zone, according to a report from The Sentinel.

— Reach Dispatch politics reporter David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid. Like the blog on Facebook at The CannaBiz Kid.

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