HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Partners Have Big Plans For Allentown's Medical Marijuana
Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jul 2017
Source: Morning Call (Allentown, PA)
Copyright: 2017 The Morning Call Inc.
Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/DReo9M8z
Website: http://www.mcall.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/275
Author: Andrew Wagaman

PARTNERS HAVE BIG PLANS FOR ALLENTOWN'S MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY

Allentown's first licensed medical marijuana dispensary features a
partnership between a fifth-generation Lehigh Valley native and a
big-time medical cannabis company that has helped secure more than 50
licenses in states across the country.

Mission Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based management
consulting firm 4Front Ventures, hopes to open its first Mission
Pennsylvania dispensary early next year in a building at 2733 W.
Emmaus Ave., Allentown, that currently houses MP Outfitters.

One of Mission Pennsylvania's principals is Ari Molovinsky, a 1997
Parkland High School graduate whose father, Michael, lives in South
Whitehall Township and operates the "Molovinsky on Allentown" blog.

On Thursday, The Morning Call interviewed Ari Molovinsky and Mission
Partners CEO Andrew Thut.

Q: How did the Mission Pennsylvania team come together?

Thut: Mission and our parent company, 4Front, were founded by Josh Rosen 
and Kris Krane. Kris is a career advocate for medical cannabis. His 
father developed a rare terminal lung condition at a young age, and
medical cannabis was really his only relief. Kris is a guy who has spent 
his life dedicated to the legalization and professionalization of the 
medical marijuana industry. 4Front was founded in 2011. ... Mission 
Partners (formed in 2015) is a division of 4Front. When a new state 
opens up, we find local partners who are ingrained in the community and 
are presumably good business folks who we'd like to partner with. We try 
to find a good melding of industry expertise and local flavor to it as well.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued two of the first 27
medical marijuana dispensary permits on Thursday to companies opening
dispensaries in Allentown and Bethlehem Township.

Here are some fast facts about GuadCo LLC's Keystone Canna Remedies
dispensary in Bethlehem Township and Mission...

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued two of the first 27
medical marijuana dispensary permits on Thursday to companies opening
dispensaries in Allentown and Bethlehem Township.

Here are some fast facts about GuadCo LLC's Keystone Canna Remedies
dispensary in Bethlehem Township and Mission... (Andrew Wagaman)

Q: Ari, how did you get involved?

Molovinsky: I've been in New York for the last 15 years but still have a 
lot of connections in the Lehigh Valley. I've spent the majority of my 
career in the media space, mostly at Sirius XM Radio, and then after
that I began consulting in the health care sector. I started getting 
interested in medical cannabis around the time Gov. [Tom] Wolf was 
signing the bill [legalizing medical cannabis] into law. A good friend
of mine is an attorney specializing in medical cannabis, and he 
introduced me to various organizations and educational conferences. 
There's a lot of stigma associated with the industry, but I started to 
hear stories about how cannabis really helps patients -- stories from 
the person whose daughter has epilepsy, or from someone whose loved one 
is going through end-of-life care. It was really moving to me, and I
started looking a little deeper at the opportunities in Pennsylvania. 
.. Contingent on the growth of this, I'll likely be moving back to the 
Lehigh Valley soon with my family.

Q: Mission's first dispensary opened recently in Chicago, right?

Thut: It opened yesterday (Wednesday). We're very excited about it. 
4Front has clients across the country who are open for operations, but 
this is our first Mission-branded dispensary that opened. We're 
currently engaged in expanding our grow facility in Chicago as
well, and ... we're slated to open [dispensaries] late this year or 
early next year in Massachusetts and Maryland as well.

Q: What are some of the opportunities and challenges you see in
Pennsylvania?

Thut: Obviously the population of Pennsylvania from a per numbers 
standpoint makes it a potentially attractive place to do business. The 
main challenge we see: Currently there's no flower (Pennsylvania's law
prohibits smoking medical marijuana). If you look at more mature markets 
like Colorado, flower is somewhere between 40-50 percent of the market. 
You have about half the market that won't be included in the program.
That will likely have an impact on the number of patients who sign up in 
the immediate future. But typically once these programs get started, the
regulators have a chance to see what's working and not working.

Q: Any products you're looking to start with, given that the dried
plant is out of the equation?

Thut: One of the advantages of being a national provider, you have good 
lenses on what's working and not working in other states. We're going to 
have a variety of tincture and oil-based products that we've seen 
historically in other states have brought a lot of relief.

Q: Why did you choose the particular location at Emmaus Avenue Plaza
in south Allentown?

Molovinsky: Given the access to public transportation and the proximity 
to the interstate, we thought it was very attractive. Also, the fact 
that it's a stand-alone structure that can be easily secured.

Q: The Department of Health must deem you operational in the next six
months. What are your next steps?

Thut: We've mobilized our operations team to start laying out plans for 
reconfiguring space. We hope to have plans locked down by the end of 
summer, and construction will start soon thereafter ... We'll plan
on pushing forward with architectural plans and construction as we move 
toward Christmas, and we hope to be open as medicine comes onto the 
market in Q1 [next year].

Q: Dispensary licensees are allowed to open up to three locations in
Pennsylvania. Do you have any plans to expand?

Molovinsky: It's definitely something we're actively discussing and 
intend on pursuing. We still have yet to finalize what locations we're 
going to be utilizing, but it's definitely on the horizon.

Q: Can you say whether there's anyone else from the Lehigh Valley
involved in your business at this point?

Molovinsky: We're still hashing out the responsibilities aE& we'll be 
able to provide more clarity on that as we move closer to the launch. We
obviously will be hiring people from the area over the course of first 
few years of operations, and we're currently estimating over a dozen 
employees.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the first 12
recipients of coveted grower and processor permits, and Lehigh Valley
applicants were shut out. Regionally, two Berks County businesses won
licenses as did a company in Luzerne County and one in Lackawanna
County. They should begin growing and processing in 2018.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the first 12
recipients of coveted grower and processor permits, and Lehigh Valley
applicants were shut out. Regionally, two Berks County businesses won
licenses as did a company in Luzerne County and one in Lackawanna
County. They should begin growing and processing in 2018.
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MAP posted-by: Matt