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First medical marijuana dispensary in Luzerne County open to the public

First medical marijuana dispensary in Luzerne County open to the public

EDWARDSVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- Department of Health officials give Justice Grown LLC the green light Wednesday, approving operations of the first medical marijuana dispensary in Luzerne County.

Their permit means they're now open to the public.

"Before you could apply, you needed to secure a location, you needed to develop an operations plan, a security plan. You kinda had to have all your ducks in a row just to apply," said Justice Grown CEO Abbe Kruger.

Two of the 27 state-licensed dispensaries in the Commonwealth are in Luzerne County.

The second, Columbia Care LLC, is still waiting state approval in Wilkes-Barre on Kidder Ave.

Kruger says they're now getting half a dozen calls asking when they open.

"We started in September. I believe that's when we broke ground. And here we are today with a permit being deemed fully operational," she said.

But patients can't get product just yet. They state program only allows the dispensary to source from permitted grow processors from within the state.

So, their shelves are bare until the processors can extract, manufacture and deliver product.

They expect that to happen mid march.

"While we don't have product on our shelves, we can have informational sessions held here and inform everybody what the medical marijuana program is all about," said Justice Grown General Manager Jillian Rosser.

In order to purchase product, patients need a medical marijuana ID card, authorized by a physician. Those without one can learn about enrolling in the program, connecting with doctors, and available products.

Kruger says their pharmacist will have constant contact with physicians.

The DOH shows there are currently five in the county and just twelve in the region approved to treat select patients.

"We hope to have more of a home feel to this than walking into a pharmacy or a doctor's office so that patients that are sick can feel more comfortable about talking to us and getting the medicine they need," said Rosser.

And while the state has approved 17 chronic conditions to be treated with medical marijuana, it is still not covered by insurance and patients must pay out of pocket.

Justice Grown says each permit may have three dispensary locations. They hope to open another two in other counties.

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