SCRANTON (WOLF-TV) — Storefronts are changing in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Scranton’s first medical marijuana dispensary is set to open next week.
Columbia Care leaders say it’s an honor to be the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“Unfortunately, there is a significant unmet medical need, because many of the illnesses that qualify for the Pennsylvania program are actually higher than the national average in Northeastern Pennsylvania,” company C.E.O. Nicholas Vita said.
Medical marijuana sales began in the state earlier this year.
Now, a facility in the Keyser Oak Shopping Center is set to open Monday.
Vita says medical marijuana could help fight the state’s opioid issue.
“What we’ve seen in other markets outside the Commonwealth is that it is really an effective substitute for opioids and benzos which is a plague that not only faces the Commonwealth, but the entire country,” he added.
Leaders say they already have 54 appointments scheduled for next week alone.
That doesn’t include walk-ins.
Safety is a big concern and requirement for Pennsylvania dispensaries.
The building is equipped with a security system outside, and a security guard and surveillance cameras inside.
Mayor Bill Courtright tells us he’s gotten a lot of questions about building safety when it comes to product delivery.
“They have an extremely secure system back there. An individual will go out and make sure it’s who it’s supposed to be out there. They will know fifteen minutes ahead of time that the delivery is being made,” Mayor Courtright said.
Just a few spaces down at Gerrity’s, overnight bakery employee Heidi Fraioli says she’s worried about her security in the shopping center.
“My fear is, you know, there security may be ok, but what about our security? What kind of security is that we have because that facility is coming here? Are there going to be more people around this area itself,” Fraioli wondered.
She tells us she supports the concept but just hope
“There shouldn’t be any other reason for people to get it. If it’s going to be for your medical health, it should be healthy for them to get them better,” she added.
We’re told a second Columbia Care facility is in the works.
It’s scheduled to open in Wilkes-Barre later this year.
Meanwhile, state officials are considering the sale of medical marijuana in dry leaf form.