research universities medical schools awarded medical marijuana certification

A second medical marijuana dispensary is being planned in Lancaster County.

PA Options for Wellness Inc. this week obtained a state permit for a medical marijuana dispensary at 39 E. Chestnut St. in Lancaster city, near city hall and across from the Duke Street Garage.

CEO Thomas Trite said the company has a lease and hopes to open the dispensary within six months for use by anyone with a Pennsylvania medical marijuana ID card.

The company will work with Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey as one of the first approved entrants in the research wing of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Cure Holdings opened the county’s existing dispensary in March 2018 at the former Kmart plaza along Fruitville Pike in Manheim Township. It is commercial, not part of the research program.


10-year agreement

In a written statement, Penn State College of Medicine said it has a 10-year agreement “to investigate the potential benefits and risks of using marijuana extracts to treat a variety of health issues,” with initial focus on pain management and anti-cancer activity.

The company will give the college money, according to the statement, with “a significant portion” going “to study health outcomes-based research and preclinical studies on the potential benefits of cannabinoids and medical marijuana.”

The college, it said, will help the company determine which types of marijuana extracts are optimal for various conditions, and help design clinical trials.

Trite said the company hopes to start offering educational programs for patients, physicians and the public in the region even before the dispensary opens.


Permit details

April Hutcheson is spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, which oversees the medical marijuana program.

She said she couldn’t comment on details of plans for Lancaster, but that generally permittees had to ensure their plans met zoning requirements and will continue to work with local officials for final approval.

Randy Patterson, the city’s director of community planning and economic development, said in an email that current zoning in that area allows a dispensary.

The permit issued to PA Options for Wellness also allows it to grow and process medical marijuana in Perry County and open a dispensary in Harrisburg — with an option to pursue up to four more dispensaries in the future.

Of the seven other medical schools looking to partner with companies for the medical wing of the program, only Penn State and two Philadelphia-based schools have the go-head to get started — because only three companies were issued permits.

Drexel University College of Medicine will work with Agronomed Biologics LLC, and Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University will work with MLH Explorations LLC.


Mount Joy update

Laurel Harvest Labs LLC, which aims to grow and process medical marijuana in Mount Joy Borough in partnership with Temple University’s School of Medicine, was among the companies that unsuccessfully sought permits in this round.

Comment from the company was not immediately available Friday. LNP records show it was looking to build a secure one-story building on a 10-acre cornfield fronting New Street, near South Barbara Street, eventually creating up to 90 jobs.