Lancaster County’s only medical marijuana dispensary will open for business on Wednesday, March 7, it was announced Friday.
The dispensary at 1866 Fruitville Pike, in the former Kmart plaza near Route 30, will be among the first in Pennsylvania to open.
Owned and operated by a company named Cure Pennsylvania, the 3,000-square-foot facility cost more than $400,000 to develop. It will employ 10 people.
“We’re very excited about finally being able to get this medicine out to needy patients,” said Ryan Smith, director of operations.
Smith said the Manheim Township location will be open Wednesday, March 7, and Thursday, March 8 by appointment only. Appointments can be made at www.curepenn.com.
The dispensary will begin serving walk-in customers on Friday, March 9. Hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Security and ambiance
The facility’s steep pricetag reflects the cost of installing security and product-tracking systems, as well as Cure Pennsylvania’s effort to avoid a clinical ambiance, Smith indicated.
“We wanted it to be attractive, warm and welcoming to patients, while safe for our patients, employees and vendors. It feels more like an Apple store than something you’d see on TV,” he said.
The Lancaster location got the green light to open this week, when it passed a final state Department of Health inspection.
The state announced Friday that the Lancaster location, as well as a Cure Pennsylvania location in Phoenixville, had passed their final inspections.
That means the state has eight dispensaries approved for opening. The first to begin operations will be a dispensary in Butler County. It’s set to debut next week.
“Each week, we are making great strides in expanding our network where patients will be able to get medical marijuana,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a prepared statement.
Though medical marijuana frequently is confused with recreational marijuana, the strains have a crucial difference in their chemical makeup.
Most importantly, medical marijuana lacks the level of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that produces the psychoactive effect or “high” that strains of marijuana used for recreational purposes have.
The local dispensary will debut less than two years after a state law was passed allowing medical marijuana and less than one year after the site was selected.
The state picked 52 locations for medical marijuana dispensaries, including the Fruitville Pike space, last June.
But the operator of each has to get state and local clearances for that specific site before it can begin operating.
More than 16,600 patients have registered to participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, with more than 3,800 certified by a state-approved physician as eligible to use the product.
So far, nine Lancaster County physicians have been approved to certify patients, according to the Department of Health.
Once certified, patients get a medical-marijuana card from the state Department of Health. With that card, plus one other form of identification (such as a driver’s license or passport), patients can get medical marijuana from any dispensary in the state.
Medical marijuana has been approved by the state to treat 17 conditions, including cancer, ALS, HIV and certain kinds of severe chronic pain.
The list can be found at www.pa.gov/guides/pennsylvania-medical-marijuana-program/#17MedicalConditions.
The Lancaster dispensary will sell medical marijuana in four forms: pills, vape cartridges, salve/balm or liquid (spray or drops).
The typical cost will be $35 to $100 per dose, depending on the form and quantity of medical marijuana. The number of doses needed by the patient will depend on the ailment.
Cure Pennsylvania also is opening a dispensary in Fort Washington. The owners of Cure Pennsylvania also have a dispensary in Colorado and one in Hawaii.