Centre County’s first medical marijuana dispensary was originally slated to open in early December, but building permits “took longer than expected” to obtain.
The dispensary, which is being brought to the region by PA Natural Medicine, previously PA Health and Wellness LLC, is now expected to open in May at 2105 N. Atherton St. in State College, the former site of El Jalisco, according to company co-founder Mark Steinmetz.
PA Natural Medicine is a partnership between Nature’s Medicine, a medical marijuana company based in Arizona, and two Pennsylvania businessmen, Tony DePaul and Austin Meehan.
Nature’s Medicine, which is headed by Steinmetz, has two locations in Phoenix, Ariz., two in the Baltimore area, and eventually plans to open two more in Pennsylvania.
Though construction at the State College location will be finished in about a week or two, Steinmetz said the company is still waiting to get a certificate of occupancy and approval from the Department of Health to operate. However, he doesn’t know how long it will take to get those approvals.
The building on Atherton Street has been subdivided into two suites, one for the Nature’s Medicine dispensary and the other will likely be leased to a medical marijuana certification and urgent care company, Steinmetz said. However, the dispensary and the company moving next door have no business ties outside of a renter-landlord relationship, he said. That lease is planned to be finalized this week.
PA Natural Medicine didn’t get approved for a permit to grow cannabis, so Steinmetz said they will buy from one of the about 12 licensees in Pennsylvania.
“Nature’s Medicine always prides itself on its selection,” Steinmetz said. “We say ‘better meds, lower prices.’ ”
The dispensary plans to offer a variety of medical marijuana products, including oils, vape cartridges and pills.
In order to purchase Nature Medicine’s products, customers must have a medical marijuana card. To obtain one, you’ll need to create a profile on the state Department of Health’s patients and caregivers registry and then get a certification from an approved physician that says you suffer from one of the 17 qualifying medical conditions. Finally, return to the online registry and pay $50 to the health department for the ID card.
According to the Department of Health, medical marijuana has been shown to alleviate pain in those who suffer from certain serious medical conditions: cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and others.
“It’s not about getting high; you can abuse any medication, it’s really about how much is used,” Steinmetz said. “The reality is that (people) are looking for ways to control their pain.”