Pittsburgh company wants to grow, process medical marijuana in McKeesport
February 17, 2017 12:00 AM
Eric Risberg/Associated Press
The Medical Marijuana Act in Pennsylvania permits its use for 17 serious medical conditions but forbids forms of marijuana or cannabis that are smoked or eaten.
By David Templeton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In the new age of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, McKeesport could be the site of a cannabis cultivation and processing facility that, if approved, likely would be the only one in Allegheny County.
The 11-county region that includes Allegheny is limited to only two grower/processor permits, according to the Medical Marijuana Act that passed last April and went into effect in May.
McKeesport’s planning commission, during a public meeting this afternoon, is scheduled to discuss a Pittsburgh company’s application for conditional use approval.
PurePenn LLC, whose Downtown address is listed as 310 Grant St., Suite 2500 — site of Perlow Investment Corp. — is seeking approval to develop a production and processing facility at 321 Locust St., a 40-acre site whose property and building currently are valued at $900,000 in the Regional Industrial Development Corp.’s Riverplace Industrial Center of McKeesport. The property is zoned for urban industrial development.
Few details were available Thursday, but State Corporation Bureau documents indicate the company was established on Oct. 11. Gabriel Perlow, also with the Perlow Investment Corp. and associate general counsel for McKnight Realty Partners LLC, is listed as PurePenn’s manager and sole original member. He couldn’t be reached for comment.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, in an email response to questions Thursday, said “the construction/development of a greenhouse would require such a conditional use application,” as was advertised Wednesday in a legal notice published in the Post-Gazette.
The 3:30 p.m. commission meeting today will be held in council chambers in the Public Safety Building, 201 Lysle Blvd., and is open to the public.
“Without question, I would encourage my fellow officials in the City of McKeesport to embrace this opportunity to bring a new business into our town,” Mr. Cherepko said. “If we step back and educate ourselves on the benefits of medical marijuana and the manner in which it is produced, we will learn that this industry can have a positive impact on medical care in the state of Pennsylvania and our local economy here in McKeesport.”
The planning commission can only make recommendations on such projects, which require approval by the mayor and city council.
But municipal approval is only the first step. PurePenn also would need to acquire a state permit to grow or process medical marijuana, based on the Medical Marijuana Act. The law permits its use for 17 serious medical conditions but forbids forms of marijuana or cannabis that are smoked or eaten.
The law divides the state into six regions, each of which can have two grower/processor permits, with only 27 dispensary permits statewide. Allegheny County could have two dispensaries, with each of the other 10 counties in the southwestern Pennsylvania region allowed only one.
The state will begin accepting applications for grower/processor and dispensary permits Monday.
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