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State Awards Medical Marijuana Growing Permits To McKeesport And Greene County Companies

PurePenn and AGRiMED Industries have been awarded licenses to grow and process medical marijuana in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

PurePenn is located in McKeesport; AgriMed is in Carmichaels in Greene County.

“We were elated. We couldn’t have been more excited to hear the news today that we were awarded a license,” PurePenn CEO Gabriel Perlow said. “We were very confident in our application.”

The state Department of Health announced two permittees in each of six Pennsylvania regions Tuesday afternoon. The first cadre of 12 will have six months to get going, according to John Collins, director of the state Office of Medical Marijuana.

“Growers (and) processors may not begin to grow medical marijuana until the department has deemed that they are operational,” he said.

"Operational” has yet to be defined by state guidelines.

The state received 177 applications, including 30 from Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Cambria, Greene, Fayette and Somerset counties combined.

Applicants were scored on more than a dozen criteria, including how they plan to manage inventory, ensure diversity in hiring and leadership and provide security for the grow facility.

“A grower/processor has to grow medical marijuana in an indoor, enclosed, secure facility. So these are not done in an open field,” Collins said.

Collins said he expects each grower/processor to create between 40 and 60 jobs.

“We have assembled a team of experienced individuals with myriad specialties to successfully launch and operate this business,” PennPure CEO Gabriel Perlow said in a statement. “Along with that, we are eager to help revitalize our chosen host city of McKeesport by providing new opportunity for a hard-working, skilled-labor force in the historic steel community.”

The full list of 27 dispensaries awarded permits will be released later this month, Collins said. The department received 280 applications for dispensaries, which are the storefronts where medical marijuana will be sold.

Collins said the department is on track to have the entire medical marijuana system up and running in 2018.

The registration process for doctors who want to recommend marijuana will go live next month and a patient and caregiver registry is expected be online by September. A seed-to sale electronic tracking system should follow in November. 

Photo: Global Panorama/Flickr

Liz Reid began working at WESA in 2013 as a general assignment reporter and weekend host. Since then, she’s worked as the Morning Edition producer, health & science reporter and as an editor.
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