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The city’s second medical marijuana dispensary has opened on Krewstown Road. The Northeast Times takes a tour behind the scenes.

New neighbors: Liberty, a medical marijuana dispensary run by Holistic Industries, officially opened on Monday in Bustleton. According to Director of Dispensary Operations Lou Giannotti, the medication is available in different forms such as oils, lotions, patches and vape pens. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

This Monday saw the opening of Liberty, the medical marijuana dispensary run by Holistic Industries at 8900 Krewstown Road in Bustleton.

On Sunday, the dispensary opened its doors for a couple of hours in the afternoon to welcome neighbors and allow them to tour the facility.

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“We are very excited to be the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Northeast Philadelphia and the second in the city,” Keith Morgan of Holistic Industries said.

The building was officially open for business on Monday.

Renovations to the building that used to be a Wawa were still being made as late as Friday. The inside of the dispensary features eggshell white walls that serve as a backdrop to the bright green, blue and purple decorations that match the products’ packaging. Walls are also decorated with plants (not marijuana, don’t worry) to complete the comfortable atmosphere.

Most people won’t be able to see the gorgeous interior, though. The building is heavily secured with a $100,000 security system, said Holistic Farms Director of Dispensary Operations Lou Giannotti, with multiple cameras lining the building’s exterior.

To enter the building, patients will need to buzz themselves in with a secure card given only to approved patients. They will be admitted into a tiny room surrounded by frosty glass, and gain entry into the dispensary only after being verified by security.

LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

On their first visit, patients will fill out a form and work with a wellness guide to figure out what product will be best for them. Products come in five different brands — Clarity, Vitality, Serenity, Tranquility and Harmony, each with their own specifications. Holistic grows its products in New Castle, Lawrence County and most of the products it sells are its own. Medication is available in different forms such as oils, lotions, tinctures, patches and vape pen cartridges.

“I have a neighbor who’s 85 and medical marijuana used to be the last thing he would ever use,” said Rick Genderson of Holistic Industries. “He came to me one day and thanked me and said he’s sleeping now.” His neighbor had been trying different treatments for years before medical marijuana.

Product deliveries are made in an unmarked van as the state regulates. Products are stored in a vault in the back of the building that is surrounded by security measures such as a metal cage and motion detectors. Patients will not be allowed to test products in the dispensary.

Exterior renovations to the building include whitewashing the building’s exterior, installing an LED sign on the street corner, painting lines in the parking lot and landscaping. They also painted the adjoining beer distributor. Giannotti said almost $1 million was invested into the site.

Pennsylvania citizens must have one of 21 qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana treatment. Opioid use disorder was recently added as a condition.

Potential patients with at least one qualifying condition can make an appointment with a doctor who is certified as a recommender, who will determine if the patient is qualified. Qualified patients will receive a card that allows them into the dispensary.

Variety of remedies: Holistic products come in five different brands — Clarity, Vitality, Serenity, Tranquility and Harmony, each with their own specifications. LOGAN KRUM / TIMES PHOTO

“People think that marijuana is a gateway drug, but it’s not an entry drug, it’s an exit drug,” Giannotti said. He said most patients are coming in to treat chronic pain.

It’s been a long time coming for the dispensary since Pennsylvania approved 27 dispensary licenses last June. Greater Bustleton Civic League held a special meeting last July to educate residents about medical marijuana and the dispensary, where about two-thirds of the residents in attendance expressed disapproval for the site.

At the most recent meeting in June, several people expressed disapproval about the building’s appearance. Renovations had not yet been completed at the time.

“I think we have a lot of support from the community, and a lot of the fears of what this would look like and how it would affect the neighborhood were based on fear of the unknown and uncertainty as opposed to anything else,” Morgan said. “I think as time goes by, I think much more people will understand what that’s about.”

Holistic Industries has two other locations in West Norriton and Bensalem. The state is expected to award more dispensary licenses in August. ••

To learn more about Liberty, visit LibertyCannabisPA.com.

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