Allentown’s first medical marijuana dispensary will open its doors in June.
Mission Pennsylvania will hold a grand opening June 7 of the dispensary at 2733 W. Emmaus Ave., in front of the Emmaus Avenue Plaza in south Allentown. The business will begin accepting patients June 12, according to a news release.
The grand opening is open to the public and will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Mission Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based management consulting firm 4Front Ventures, was one of two medical marijuana firms issued permits in June 2017 to open initial dispensaries in the Lehigh Valley. 4Front has helped secure approximately 50 medical marijuana licenses in states across the country. It operates, or will soon operate, dispensaries under the Mission platform in Illinois, Massachusetts and Maryland.
The Pennsylvania business has partnered with a fifth-generation Lehigh Valley native, Ari Molovinsky. The Allentown dispensary, a former MP Outfitters shop, is 2,900 square feet and will initially have six full-time employees.
MP Outfitters relocated its store into another space in the same shopping center.
Mission’s permit allows it to open two other dispensary locations in northeastern Pennsylvania, but they can’t be in Lehigh County. Keystone Canna Remedies, which opened the state’s first dispensary in February on Stefko Boulevard in Bethlehem, has said it will likely open its second location somewhere in Lehigh County.
4Front and Mission executives, including co-founder and president Kris Krane and director of retail operations Don Schaefer, will attend the grand opening.
So will Riley Cote, a former Philadelphia Flyers player and co-founder of Athletes For Care, a nonprofit that advocates for “research, education, and compassion when addressing important health issues facing athletes and the public at large.” Mission executives will present a charitable contribution to Cote at the grand opening.
Mission also has partnered with the Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley, according to the release.
As of mid-May, the Pennsylvania Department of Health had approved 23 dispensaries and 12 grower/processors to begin operations. Regionally, Mission is the last to open. Justice Grown opened in March in Edwardsville, Luzerne County, and Columbia Care opened in April in Scranton. TerraVida Holistic Centers opened in February in Sellersville.
More than 37,000 patients have registered for the program, and 16,000 have received the identification card that allows patients to make appointments at dispensaries.
Patients must have one of 21 qualifying conditions to obtain a medical marijuana identification card. The health department recently expanded the list of conditions to include opioid addiction, neurodegenerative diseases and terminal illness, among others.
Following a recommendation from an advisory panel earlier this year, qualifying patients should have access to medical marijuana in flower and dry leaf form at dispensaries by the end of summer. Patients must vaporize, not smoke, the product, which requires less processing than other forms and therefore should be less expensive.
The health department will issue permits to another 23 dispensary applicants and 13 grower/processor applicants later this year.
Patients interested in learning more about the program should read the Wolf administration’s medical marijuana program guide.