Medical marijuana grower gets township OK, still needs permit from state
If the state gives Sweetwater Pharmacognosy LLC one of two permits to grow and process marijuana in southwestern Pennsylvania, the company will be ready to set up operations in Findlay.
Findlay supervisors last week unanimously approved the conditional use application submitted by the Pennsylvaniabased company for a nearly 32,000-square-foot facility, including a greenhouse, on about 9 acres in West Port Woods Business Park at 800 William Drive.
Supervisors also unanimously approved the preliminary and final land development applications submitted by Sweetwater.
Sweetwater has submitted applications to other municipalities to build dispensaries in Allegheny and Beaver counties.
“The growing and processing must take place in the same location, but selling and dispensing cannot take place in the same facility,” said Frank Zappala, chief fac i l i t i e s d i r e c t o r for Sweetwater.
“We are also partnering with a local health care provider,” Mr. Zappala said in an interview, adding that he could not name the company, “but this would make it a natural expansion of their offerings, having a dispensary.”
State law prohibits medical marijuana from being smoked or chewed. Accepted forms include pills, liquid, oil, tincture, topical forms, and forms that are used for vaporization or nebulization. Sweetwater has obtained the exclusive Pennsylvania license to distribute it as a transdermal patch.
The Findlay facility will have a private drive with no identifying signs. All loading will be done internally.
The route to the dispensaries will be predetermined and tracked via GPS, and drivers will be required to check in periodically.
Mr. Zappala has said the facility will have a low carbon footprint. Wastewater will be filtered and recycled, and the disposal of plant waste will follow regulations, keeping it separate from other waste.
“From a township perspective, we are always happy when a new development comes in,” Findlay supervisor Janet Craig said after the April 12 meeting. “We have strict ordinances, and the reality is it meets the requirements.”
Supervisor Tom Gallant said, “I have no problem with medical marijuana.”
“I would rather have it in our township, where our board can make sure it is handled exactly the way it is supposed to be, rather than have it go someplace where we can’t trust what’s going to happen.”
Sweetwater has entered into a sales agreement with landowner Imperial Land Corp. The agreement will be finalized if Sweetwater gets the state permit.