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June 29, 2017

Philly granted three permits for medical marijuana dispensaries

Cannabis shop locations include Fishtown, Northeast Philadelphia

Medical Marijuana Business
Marijuana file art/for PhillyVoice

Marijuana.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health handed out its first round of medical marijuana dispensary permits on Thursday, granting three to Philadelphia as the state program moves toward a launch next year.

Philadelphia's three chosen entities are among the initial 27 dispensary permit holders spread across the state's six region program. Each permit holder is eligible to operate up to two other dispensaries in two different counties within the same region, but not within the same county of the original dispensary.

NonePennsylvania Department of Health/Twitter

This map shows the locations of the 12 initial winners of permits to grow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

Based on the first wave of approved permit applications, Pennsylvania will start with 52 dispensaries, a number that could expand to 81 during the program's first phase, depending on the needs of patients throughout the state.

“This has been a highly competitive process and the department received hundreds of quality applications,” said John Collins, director of the Office of Medical Marijuana. “Once this program is fully operational, patients with serious medical conditions will have locations throughout the commonwealth where they can purchase medication to help in their treatment. We remain on track to provide medication to patients in 2018.”

Philadelphia companies opening up cannabis shops will operate in the following locations.

• PharmaCann Penn LLC — 599 Franklin Mills Circle, Northeast Philadelphia
• Restore Integrative Wellness Center, LLC — 957‐963 Frankford Avenue, Fishtown
• Holistic Pharma, LLC — 8900 Krewstown Road, Northeast Philadelphia.

A fourth Philadelphia dispensary will eventually be operated by Montgomery County permit holder TerraVida Holistic Centers, which had applied up front for its additional two dispensary locations. 

Other dispensary locations in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region include Abington, Elkins Park, Bensalem, Devon, Upper Darby, Phoenixville, Plymouth Meeting, Sellersville and Yeadon.

Health department spokeswoman April Hutcheson said each permit holder will have six months to get its first dispensary operational and inspected by the state.

"The key was to give those 27 primary permit entities a chance to get up and running," Hutcheson said, explaining that applicants can opt for more than one location at any time.

Pennsylvania dispensaries will not carry smokeable forms of marijuana. The medication will be legally available by prescription in pill, oil or ointment for patients suffering from one of 17 qualifying conditions.

News of the first dispensaries comes after the Department of Health earlier this month awarded the program's initial 12 grower-processer permits. Some members of Philadelphia City Council expressed disappointment that the city was overlooked during that first round, arguing that the early economic opportunity presented by a manufacturing operation should have gone to the largest city in Pennsylvania.

In total, the state will award 25 grower-processer permits, meaning it's still possible a Philadelphia applicant could be selected at a later date.

A full breakdown of the first 27 permit-holding companies and their dispensary locations can be found here

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