It's been in the works for nearly two years, but by this time in February, medical marijuana could be a reality in Pennsylvania.
More specifically, in Butler.
Nothing about the building on Pillow Street is distinctive or unique, but it is expected to make Pennsylvania history.
“The growing process takes three to four months, so we've had plants in the ground since the middle of October,” said Trent Hartley. “Which puts us right in line to everything on the shelves the first or second week of February.”
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Hartley is the co-founder of Cresco Yeltrah, which is expected to open the first medical marijuana dispensary in Pennsylvania in the heart of Butler.
All that remains is a final inspection from the state Department of Health and product from the facility's Jefferson County grow operation to stock the shelves.
Hartley says the company will open three facilities in western Pennsylvania, and it's no accident butler will likely be the first.
“Our main dispensary was Butler,” he said. “That's where we grew up, in Butler County, and we went to high school there.”
According to the medical marijuana bill signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2016, patients can get prescriptions for marijuana oils, pills, gels and ointment. But anything that can be smoked or is considered an edible will remain illegal.
There are 17 serious medical conditions that qualify patients for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, including Parkinson's disease, cancer, epilepsy, HIV and Crohn's disease.
“The patient count looks fantastic compared to other states that just started out and the doctor count is absolutely fantastic too,” Hartley said. “The public is really behind this program.”
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