Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Medical marijuana grower gets township OK, still needs permit from state

- By Amy Philips-Haller

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.

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