2320 Sheffield Road / photo by Matt LaComb

A medical marijuana dispensary plans to open this summer in Aliquippa and employ 25-30 part- and full-time workers.

Sunrise Organic Wellness LLC has an option to purchase a building owned by Albert Unis at 2320 Sheffield Road for its facility, which would be the first dispensary in Beaver County.

Sunrise Founder Keith Morgan said the building, which is located just a few door-fronts from Breezy’s Pizza, “is in pretty good shape” though it may not look like it now from the outside.

He said its interior would be renovated to look like a cross “between a high-end health spa and an Apple Store.”

Morgan said the current building is bigger than the 3,000 square feet he expects the dispensary to fill. He said the company spends close to $1 million per location on renovations and facility needs.

Sunrise is part of a family of companies under the umbrella of Holistic Industries, which owns and operates medical cannabis facilities in the District of Columbia and in four states, including Pennsylvania.

The state Department of Health last month granted Sunrise, which has administrative offices in Montgomery County, one of 23 final dispensary permits.

DOH Press Secretary Nate Wardle said that the second phase of permits brought their number to 50, the maximum allowed by law. However, each of those 50 has the ability to apply for up to three total locations.

Including the additional locations already applied for, 79 dispensary sites in the state are either operating, awaiting final inspection or final permitting, Wardle said. Dispensaries must apply for other locations within the region they received the permit.

In addition, the state has also issued the maximum 25 grower/processor permits allowed by law.

Each dispensary was given six months to prove facility compliance with commercial-grade security and surveillance; criminal background checks of company principals, financial backers and employees; and proper product handling and storage.

The state also requires dispensaries to not be within 1,000 feet of schools or daycare centers.

2320 Sheffield Road / photo by Matt LaComb

Morgan said Tuesday that he expects the Aliquippa facility to meet all requirements. He said the dispensary will be called Sunrise Wellness.

Morgan said Aliquippa was chosen because the state “strongly encouraged” companies to locate in designated financially distressed communities, such as the city.

Sunrise worked with a local broker to find the property and it was chosen to comply with all pertinent local and state laws, he added. Morgan wouldn’t reveal the purchase price, and Unis could not be reached for comment. A woman who identified herself as the manager of a next-door bar said she knew nothing about the impending sale.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill legalizing medical marijuana for qualifying patients into law in 2016. Dispensaries began selling it in the form of pills, oils, tinctures and ointments in February of last year. Dry leaf – only allowed to be used by vape – became available in August.

Morgan said Sunrise Wellness will carry a variety of products, including Liberty brand products grown at a sister facility in New Castle, another town chosen because of its financially distressed designation.

Morgan said Sunrise will be looking to fill jobs at the Aliquippa location “probably in May,” six to eight weeks before the expected opening. Each dispensary is required to have a pharmacist or licensed medical professional on site at all times, but jobs will also include managers, wellness consultants and receptionists.

The state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board could vote as early as Friday on whether to add more qualifying conditions, such as anxiety or depression, to the list of 21 serious conditions permitted to be treated with cannabis.

Wardle said more than 105,600 patients have registered with the program, and more than 76,000 have been issued a patient certification.

“We have close to 12,500 caregivers registered with the program, and have had more than 554,000 dispensing events (each time a patient visits a dispensary and makes a purchase counts as an event),” Wardle said. “There are over 1,000 physicians approved as certified practitioners, and close to 1,450 registered with the program.”

More information about the program can be found at medicalmarijuana.pa.gov.

Anyone who wants to submit a comment regarding a dispensary should contact their local municipality, Wardle said. Questions for the medical marijuana program can be sent to ra-dhmedmarijuana@pa.gov.

See Also:

Beaver County Patients Say Medical Marijuana Is Making A Difference In Their Lives

Beaver County’s Public Pension Fund Is Now Officially In The Marijuana Business

Dry Leaf Medical Marijuana Becomes Available In PA Dispensaries This Week

Beaver County Pension Money Invested Into Company That Fails To Win State Marijuana Grower Or Dispensary Licenses

Lori Boone
Lori Boone (DeLauter) has more than 20 years of experience in investigative and community journalism. She’s won more than a dozen regional, state and national journalism awards.

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uncle wah wah
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uncle wah wah

Medical marijuana will do itself a great service in their work to get public acceptance if they make a clear differentiation between recreational and medical pot. You have SOME established uses for MEDICAL marijuana, but you still have the stoner prophets like Woody Harrelson, Willie Nelson extolling marijuana as a food, a clothing material, health aid, building material, self-defense weapon…. and it just gets ridiculous. It’s the wonder plant! Keep it focused and lose the Cheech & Chong “It relaxes me” vibe.

And not everybody and anybody should be getting a medical marijuana card. don’t hand them out like store coupons. It’s just the same emotional support animals. Treat it serious, make it a legitimate need and people won’t think you are a crackpot.

uncle wah wah
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uncle wah wah

I’m surprised that 8 people are negative about this comment. What do you object to, trying to establish it as legitimate usage? Probably the same people that want boner pills for “self-esteem”. LOL

Raven
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Raven

The rumor is that Oscar Mayer is setting up a hotdog stand in the lion habitat at the Pittsburgh’Zoo to make the feeding easier and more personal.

John Q Taxpayer
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John Q Taxpayer

Dan Camp is the official wiener mascot for Oscar Mayer.

Moondoggie
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Moondoggie

If Breezy’s was a publicly held company, their stock would be going through the ceiling right about now. This is awesome! Kind of like if you put a whorehouse next to a condom factory……………..

sezme
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sezme

if this is such a ” HIGH END ” store , no pun intended, a better, classier site would give it a better image. not in the shitty area it will be in. but unis calls the shots. they coulda put it in one of CJ’s nicer buildings…

liljoemama
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liljoemama

not hardly last time i ate breezy’s was exactly that the last time if i want pizza i will go to ambridge

Moondoggie
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Moondoggie

Do you really think the quality of the pizza will matter much to the stoners?

Besides, pizza is kinda like sex………………..When it’s good, it’s great…………and when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.

Raven
Member
Raven

Location, location, location… Tailor made for a mugging. Architecture to rival the London bombings of WWII. How serendipitous it was for Al Unis to have found out about this ground level venture early on and have a location and building ready to go. A surprise boon indeed. Maybe he can help out the family and help pay off the cool half mil in back county taxes that seem to defy repayment. Charity begins at home.

sezme
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sezme

yeah, i am curious to see what other sites were considered, and then rejected. bet the unis family and friends will all be employees, too. and isn’t there a SCHOOL a few hundred yards away??? dig deeper , john paul!

Raven
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Raven

Aliquippa Elementary is 1225 feet away.

David J Gillespie
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David J Gillespie

How far away is the closest pharmacy? Those places will give out stuff that can KILL!!!

Alreadyleft
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Alreadyleft

Good thing Unis
didn’t knock this one down!

Getitright
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Getitright

Well this is nothing new. Aliquippa has been a Marijuana dispensary for decades. I am sure that the local street corner pharmacists are not to happy about someone muscling in on their territory

sezme
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sezme

this pot will be carefully grown and dosed . you don’t know what the hell is in the Street Pot, it can be laced with fentanyl, and other drugs.