Medical marijuana dispensary in Penn Township on track
Supporters gather at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building to promote the legalization of medical cannabis in Harrisburg, Pa. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015.
While proposed medical marijuana facilities were debated during open meetings in York City and Hellam Township, a Florida-based company awarded a permit to open a dispensary in Penn Township might not face the same public scrutiny.
Cansortium Pennsylvania LLC was awarded one of 27 available permits to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the state in late June.
The company, which also owns permits to operate similar facilities in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico, is planing to place its dispensary, to be called Knox Medical, at 644-652 Frederick St. in Penn Township.
The location is the site of a former restaurant and is zoned commercial, which is an accepted zoning distinction for placement of the dispensary, according to township manager Kristina Rodgers.
Plans: Rodgers said the company has yet to submit plans to the township, and those plans might need approval from the township's planning commission, but they might not.
Rodgers said, without seeing the plans, she couldn't say for sure, but if the plans do need approval, the company must submit them by Aug. 24 in order to appear on the agenda for the next planning commission meeting on Sept. 7.
Adam Sharon, a spokesman for Knox Medical, wrote in an email that his understanding is that their plans will not require approval by the planning commission because they aren't building anything or changing the building structurally.
Rodgers said the township's inspectors have recommended the company take down part of the building — the restaurant closed two or three years ago and is not up to code — so they will at least need to apply for a demolition permit.
But consideration of that permit would not require any public meeting, she added.
Sharon wrote that the company is finalizing its permit application, which will be submitted to the township soon.
According to the state Department of Health, which issued the dispensary permits, all dispensaries are required to be operational within six months of receiving their permit.
That would mean Knox Medical would need to be deemed operational by the end of the year, and Sharon wrote that "barring any unforeseen events which we don't expect," the company is on track to open in December.
Other attempts: Two applicants that did not receive permits from the state did receive approval from municipalities in York County after public meetings.
Viridis Medicine LLC approached Hellam Township supervisors in February about building a medical marijuana growing/processing facility.
After some debate for and against the facility during a public board meeting, the supervisors approved the company's plan.
Five-Leaf Remedies similarly brought its plan for a medical marijuana grower/processor plant to York City officials, and received a lot of public support, as the city's Zoning Hearing Board granted them the necessary approvals.
The state only awarded 12 medical marijuana grower/processor permits, and none were awarded in York County.