CHRIS RUVO - BUCKS COUNTY HERALD
A medical marijuana dispensary expects to open its doors for business in Sellersville before the end of the year.
Proprietors for the business, called Terra Vida, told Sellersville Borough Council on Monday that they anticipate they’ll be serving 20 to 30 patients per day, once business begins to get going.
The dispensary will neighbor the Sellersville Fire Department, which is on Main Street.
Over the coming months, Terra Vida will be retrofitting the building with the aim of opening by the state-mandated deadline of the end of December.
“We plan to become an integral part of the community,” said Chris Visco, Terra Vida’s president/chief operating officer.
Visco and business partner Adina Birnbaum were eager Monday to dispel what they said are potential misconceptions about their business.
They stressed that they will be selling cannabis products like oils, lotions and concentrates strictly to people with qualified medical conditions who have received a doctor’s prescription and a state-issued medical cannabis identification card.
Also, cannabis will not be available in leaf form.
“No one is going to be walking around smoking joints,” said Visco. “No one is permitted to use medical marijuana in or around the facility.”
The building facade and interior will have a “holistic and spa-like atmosphere,” she said.
That atmosphere will come heavy on security, though.
There will be at least one security guard present 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During operating hours, an additional guard will be on duty, Visco said.
Security cameras will blanket the property with coverage. Patients will have to be buzzed into the lobby and other areas of the building through locked doors. Admittance will only be granted after a patient displays forms of identification that include their medical marijuana card, Visco said.
Terra Vida plans to store cannabis in one vault and cash in another. The business, like others in Pennsylvania’s nascent medical marijuana industry, will operate on a cash-only basis, at least initially.
The average patient gets a 30-day supply of cannabis product and spends about $300 per month, according to Visco.
In response to questions from council, Visco said hours of operation are not yet known, but the business will never run 24/7.
Visco said Terra Vida is one of 27 licensees to receive a medical marijuana dispensary license from the commonwealth. The license allows Terra Vida to operate up to three locations, she said. The other planned locations are in Abington and Philadelphia.
Terra Vida handed out a flyer that says the business expects to create 20 jobs and hire from within the community. No employee will make less than $15 hourly, and all full-time employees will receive health benefits, the flyer said.
James E. Miller Jr., who is on the Board of Supervisors in neighboring West Rockhill, was at the Sellersville council meeting. He invited Visco to speak in the township too, saying there was already significant community interest.
“People are concerned, and we need to get the right message out there,” Miller said. Visco said she would attend a meeting, but no definite date was immediately established.
Pennsylvania is among the reported 29 states to permit medical marijuana.
Gov. Tom Wolfe signed Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act into law in April last year. Under the law, people suffering from a range of qualified medical conditions – from cancer and HIV/AIDS, to chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin – will be able to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis through a physician. Recreational marijuana remains illegal under state law.