The Department of Health's decision to grant a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Permit to a facility in Fairview has people talking. While some people are happy about a dispensary coming to Erie County, others say it should be in the city, where a wider variety of people have access.
John Knox, Vice President of Cannabis Square, LLC asks, "Why is Erie shut out for grower/processor permits? Why is Erie shut out for dispensary permits? We're the only region in which the largest city has that unpopular distinction."
The Department of Health awarded one permit to open a dispensary in this region of Pennsylvania, but it won't be in the city, in fact, the new location isn't even on a bus line.
Many people say they're disappointed with the state's choice, given access and diversity were top priorities on the application. In a written statement from the Booker T. Washington Center, Shantel Hilliard says, "How is someone with chronic pain who lives on East Avenue supposed to get there? How about people from Meadville or people from Mercer? Where are they going to go? That doesn't make sense."
Knox says, "They only proposed one dispensary and it's in Fairview. We proposed three dispensaries, with our main one being in the most populous city in the region."
Even though Fairview isn't the location many people anticipated, some local leaders say bringing a dispensary to Erie County in general can have a big positive impact.
Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive, says, "I'm always happy about jobs in Erie County. I'm always happy when we have an opportunity to hire people and also happy when we can provide more for people so that they can have a better quality of life." Dahlkemper says she's hopeful GTI will consider what's best for the area.
A written statement from the company says, "we are proud to bring our capabilities to this area of the state and know that our patients will be well served by our dispensary." But companies like Cannabis Square say for the Department of Health...there are still more questions than answers.
Cannabis Square filed an appeal with the Department of Health, but they're not the only ones who've expressed concern. A few local leaders have taken a stance on the issue, saying that dispensary should be in the city.
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