A group of investors will apply to the state Department of Health to create a medial marijuana growing facility at the former Kmart building in the township and for a medical marijuana dispensary in Shamokin.
A press release issued this afternoon details the plan. Geoff Whaling, of Berks County, described in the release as among the core group of advocates who worked to pass Act 16, which legalized medical marijuana in the state in 2016, has joined with former Philadelphia Flyer Riley Cote, who is founder of Athletes for CARE, a nonprofit, in the effort.
Shamokin Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III purchased the Kmart building at a tax sale a few years ago.
The Department of Health intends to issue up to 13 grower/processor permits and up to 23 dispensary permits in Phase II of the medical marijuana program. The application period started April 5 and ends May 17.
Applicants for grower/processor permits must submit a $10,000 application fee and $200,000 permit fee; the latter is refunded if the applicantion is not selected.
Northumberland, as well as Columbia and Montour counties, are part of Medical Marijuana Region 4, one of six regions statewide. The state will issue two grower/processor permits for each of the six regions and one permit to the highest-scoring, most-qualified and eligible application without regard to location.
For the 23 dispensaries, Region 1 will get nine; Regions 2 and 3, three; Regions 4 and 6, two; and Region 5, four. The companies chosen can locate their primary dispensary in any county in the region and have the option of two additional dispensary locations in the same region but different counties.
More than 30,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, with more than 10,000 who have received their identification cards and received medical marijuana at a dispensary, the Department of Health reported on April 16. Nearly 1,000 physicians have registered for the program with more than half of those certified as practitioners.
The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has approved 16 dispensaries and 12 grower/processers to begin operations, approved four laboratories to test medication before it is delivered to patients; launched registries for patients, caregivers and physicians and registered more than 30,000 patients for the program.
Power Plant Medicinal, based in Pittston, which had plans for a medical marijuana growing facility adjacent to the Marion Heights co-generation plant, and a dispensary, was not selected in the first round. Medical Marijuana Corp. (MMC), whose principals include members of the Shamokin area Rosini family, had reported intentions to apply for a dispensary permit in the first round, too, but no company by that name was listed among applicants provided by the state at that time.
The Medical Marijuana Program offers medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a practitioner’s care for the treatment of serious medical conditions as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law. The number of conditions was increased just last week by the Wolf administration from 17 to 21 at the recommendation of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board.
The Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society has predicted that 250,000 patients can be helped by the state’s medical marijuana law and that establishing the new industry will create more than 2,500 jobs.