2320 Sheffield Road / photo by Matt LaComb
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An Aliquippa medical marijuana dispensary is now slated to open in mid-December, with applications for its 20 expected jobs to be taken some time in November.

Josh Genderson, founder and chief executive officer of parent company Holistic Industries, told BeaverCountian.com that previous plans for a summer opening became unrealistic as property acquisition time, environmental concerns and permitting were taken into account.

Noticeable construction work on the county’s first dispensary, now to be named Liberty, will start by the end of this month, he said.

When finished, the store will look like a cross between a high-end health spa and an Apple Store, another company executive previously said.

Genderson said the sale of the property at 2320 Sheffield Road is now complete and permitting is in place. Some pre-construction work has been done, and the company is currently working with the city on a traffic study.

Three dispensaries the company runs in the eastern part of the state see 80-100 customers a day, Genderson said.

“We moved as quickly as humanly possible,” Genderson said of the Aliquippa project, but closing the transaction on the property “took longer than we thought.” He declined to give a sale price with previous owner Albert Unis.

Genderson said Aliquippa City Manager Sam Gill and Mayor Dwan Walker in particular have been “very welcoming.” The property previously operated partially as a bar and partially as a garage, he said, and required some environmental cleanup.

Genderson said time also has been spent speaking to neighbors about the project. “We’re going to build a beautiful store,” he said, adding that it will also make the block “prettier.”

He said city residents have been “very receptive,” and that educational outreach will be conducted prior to opening.

Genderson said a total of 20 people will be hired: 14 full-time and six part-time employees, included three pharmacists. 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 store will be open seven days a week, with hours of 11 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. daily. He said every effort will be made to hire local people.

“We’re very committed to hiring as many local job applicants as possible,” he said. Aliquippa was chosen as a location because the state strongly encouraged companies to locate in designated financially distressed communities, such as the city.

Genderson said he expects the dispensary will draw economic growth to the area.

“In our experience, people who come in tend to visit restaurants and coffee shops. They experience the city,” he said.

“We’re really, really, really proud of what we do,” he added, as well as the medicinal products the company provides.

Holistic Industries owns and operates medical cannabis facilities in the District of Columbia and in four states, including Pennsylvania. Genderson said Holistic will open two more dispensaries in the region, one in Pittsburgh and one in a location yet to be determined.

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 2018. Dry leaf – only allowed to be used by vape – became available last August.

Liberty 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.

Last month, the state added anxiety disorders and Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying disorders that can be treated with medical marijuana. Other qualifying illnesses include terminal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis.

To participate in the program, patients must apply for a medical marijuana card with the Department of Health and have a qualifying doctor’s recommendation — similar to a prescription.

More information about the state’s medical marijuana program can be found at medicalmarijuana.pa.gov.

See Also: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Coming To Aliquippa

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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HopewellBillLefartssezmeJohn Q TaxpayerSilence_Dogood Recent comment authors
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Sardonicus
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Sardonicus

“In our experience, people who come in tend to visit restaurants and coffee shops. They experience the city,” [Genderson] said.”

Yeah, they’re going to get an experience all right.

M.T. Pockets
Guest
M.T. Pockets

Aside from the pizza shop next door, (which I’m sure will benefit tremendously), the next closes restaurant just down the street is where the Aliquippa and Hopewell P.D. hang out. Yep should be quite an experience if they walk in there!

Silence_Dogood
Member
Silence_Dogood

There’s a lot of food in that part of Aliquippa. Not only is Breezy’s there, but there’s also Don Jose, Subway, New Sheffield Cafe, Burger King, DQ, Barneys, Wendy’s, whatever that Chinese restaurant is called. That’s all within walking distance of where this shop is going to be set up.

John Q Taxpayer
Member
John Q Taxpayer

They paid 395K for that dump. Yep, that’s right…395 Thousand.

sezme
Guest
sezme

yep, maybe mr. unis will use that money to pay off all those back taxes !! ha ha ha .

Raven
Member
Raven

How many years has Unis owed that money? I don’t know. A few? Five? Ten? But Treasurer Egley could make believers of us all if she started asset seizures and cut off contracts with the company and shut their asses down for good. With her in there, she could once again make “brown bagging” mean taking lunch to work.

Interested
Guest
Interested

What tax money does he owe? And for what property?

Raven
Member
Raven

Multiple properties. Check the county assessment website.

sezme
Guest
sezme

look at that big section the Times put out a few weeks back…i quit totalling unis’ taxes when i hit the 40,000 mark. and tony Dorsett owes about 10 grand. maybe he should hock that trophy….

Raven
Member
Raven

There is so much wrong with this whole venture that it doesn’t even pass a hemp smell test. Give it five years until bankruptcy, at most, then reopen it as a community center, donated to the Quip for tax breaks, but too costly to maintain.Then, it will revert back to the place in the above picture and Mr. Mayor will cite it as unavoidable inner city blight, justifying new subsidies in his next trip to Washington. Congress will have passed the universal legal marijuana law, and we will wonder why we went through all this trouble in the first place. Unis will have finally paid his taxes to Treasurer Egley, and Connie will be comfortably settled in to her new condo in Florida. See, it all works out.

John Q Taxpayer
Member
John Q Taxpayer

In regards to the Washington trip, I have to wonder if any officials turned in any illegal vouchers for reimbursement like transportation, meals and other expenses for their spouses. Further, I have to wonder if Crooked Connie paid any of those vouchers.

sezme
Guest
sezme

good ol’ aliquippa. Bulldoze it, plow it , and plant it. grow that hemp right here! maybe the mayor can get a farm subsidy payment….

Lefarts
Guest
Lefarts

It’s gonna surpass that amount of time and probably out live you! Do you know how much these places bring in weekly? It’s in the millions!! Get ready for more to open in the county!

Walk
Member
Walk

Last month, the state added Tourette’s syndrome to the list of qualifying disorders … Hmmm, I guess all Beaver Countians will now qualify as we read the BC, and utter “What the F now?”

Silence_Dogood
Member
Silence_Dogood

For everyone that’s excited to see this open up in Aliquippa, keep in mind that by obtaining a medical marijuana card, you are forfeiting your right to own a gun. Personally, I’ve never used marijuana in any form before, but I’ve done enough research on it to know that it shouldn’t be regulated any more than alcohol is. That said, even though the state is allowing it, the federal government still has it classified as a scheduled substance, and, as such, you are not LEGALLY allowed to purchase or own a firearm or ammunition. I don’t agree with that, but it is what it is right now until we find a way to get our legislators out of the pockets of big pharma. If you still choose to own firearms after obtaining your card, that is your decision to make; but, should you enter into a situation where you have to use it, you might face some legal issues. There is already some case law that reinforces this from various appellate courts.

There has been discussion about the possibility of a loophole where a person that lives and resides in PA, and buys a gun that was made in PA and has not left the state, could possibly get around that as the federal government SHOULDN’T have any control or say on intrastate commerce, but that’s not a legal battle I’m willing or able to participate in.

At the end of the day, where the laws stand right now, we are forced to choose between whether we want the medical benefits that marijuana provides, or we want to exercise our right own a firearm for hunting or self-defense.

WTF2:
Guest
WTF2:

ALL gun laws are an infringement on the 2nd amendment. ALL OF THEM. Period.

Silence_Dogood
Member
Silence_Dogood

I agree 100%. You’d think that adding a line to the amendment that says “…shall not be infringed.” would be pretty clear; but apparently our politicians and courts have a hard time with reading and comprehension.

Lefarts
Guest
Lefarts

Check again!

HopewellBill
Guest
HopewellBill

wrong