Washington center permitted to dispense medical marijuana

Michael Bradwell
Observer Reporter

A Washington business has received one of the first permits from the state Department of Health to operate a medical marijuana dispensary.

The Healing Center at 799 W. Chestnut St. was on a list of 27 companies across Pennsylvania provided Thursday by the state that are permitted to dispense medical marijuana. Those receiving permits have six months to become operational before they can dispense the medical cannabis.

On Thursday, the building at the West Chestnut Street address appeared to be vacant.

According to the Healing Center’s website, the company was founded in 2013 by Chris Kohan and Jay Richards. The center offers memberships that provide patients with access to holistic therapies and alternatives to traditional medicine.

A total of 52 dispensary permits will be issued, and each company is permitted to open three locations.

The health department noted in its list The Healing Center also has sites in Monroeville and in Cranberry, Butler County.

Mayor Scott Putnam said Thursday the city has no ordinance prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries. He said the city met about eight months ago with principals from The Healing Center, who discussed their plans, including security measures for the West Chestnut Street site.

Putnam said he wrote a letter in support of the center’s application to become a dispensary.

Company officials had no listed telephone number and could not be contacted for comment.

In addition to approving The Healing Center for a permit, the health department also listed four other businesses in Southwestern Pennsylvania that received dispensary permits, including Maitri Medicinals LLC in Oakland, with a second center in Uniontown; Keystone Relief Centers LLC in Squirrel Hill, with a second center in Butler; and Keystone Integrated Care LLC in Greensburg, with a second location in Cranberry Township.

Thursday’s announcement of dispensary permits follows the health department’s initial licensing on June 20 of 12 medical marijuana growing and processing centers across the commonwealth, including one to be operated by AGRiMED Industries of PA near Nemacolin in Greene County.

John Collins, director of the health department’s Office of Medical Marijuana, said the permitting of dispensaries is the next step in putting Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana law into effect.

“Once this program is fully operational, patients with serious medical conditions will have locations throughout the commonwealth where they can purchase medication to help in their treatment,” Collins said Thursday.

The medical marijuana program, which was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in April 2016, is expected to be implemented by early 2018. When completed, it will offer medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by Act 16.

The law permits medical marijuana use for treating 17 different medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, autism, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders and chronic neuropathic pain.