NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WKBN) – New Castle will soon have a company that grows and processes medical marijuana moving in. While residents are anticipating the jobs it will bring, they also worry about the effect it will have on the city’s drug problem.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued 12 permits to grow and process medical marijuana Monday afternoon. According to the Department of Health, permits issued locally went to Holistic Farms, LLC in New Castle.
It’s one of just twelve applications approved out of over 177 groups looking to start their medical marijuana business in the state. The Pennsylvania Department of Health called it a big step forward.
Holistic Farms will set up in a building on the quiet back road of Industrial Street.
The 110,000 square foot factory used to belong to a company that made sailboats. Before that, it was a munitions factory.
Holistic Farms said the building needs a lot of love but when it’s fully operational, the company hopes to create close to 150 new jobs in the area over the next three to five years.
The two men in charge, Keith Morgan and Rick Genderon, have previous experience with medical marijuana in several other states.
“We felt, from a community perspective, that it was a good fit,” Morgan said.
But neighbors that live down the road have mixed opinions.
Faith Trumpower said it really doesn’t bother her. Daniel Black, on the other hand…
“I just think we have enough problems with drugs. This town’s pretty bad.”
Many others said they were mostly fine with it but are still concerned about the drug problem plaguing the area.
“Having that down there, I think it’s great for the medicinal portion. However, it’s not going to be good for people that work. They’re going to have to do some healthy security,” Trumpower said.
Morgan said residents should know the marijuana will be for medical uses only. He said it’s not legal to smoke pot in Pennsylvania and there won’t be any edibles.
Medical marijuana will not be sold in Lawrence County — the nearest dispensary will be in Butler County.
Patient and caregiver registration for the drug begins in September. Medical cards will be issued to them by November.
AGRiMED Industries was also among the applicants approved.
Steelers great Jack Ham is part of the AGRiMED team, according to KDKA in Pittsburgh. The Hall of Fame outside linebacker told KDKA he sees medical cannabis as a key pain management alternative to opioids and prescription drugs.
The businesses granted permits will have the next six months to become fully operational.
The permits for dispensaries will also be announced later this month, however, it will still be a while before medical marijuana is available.