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Allegheny

Pittsburgh medical marijuana dispensary to reopen, but without any product

Ben Schmitt
| Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 3:48 p.m.
A leaf of marijuana
Associated Press
A leaf of marijuana
The inside of Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill on Jan. 31, 2018.
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
The inside of Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill on Jan. 31, 2018.
PurePenn CEO Gabe Perlow.
PurePenn CEO Gabe Perlow.

Solevo Wellness medical marijuana dispensary will reopen its doors in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood as planned Wednesday, but no product is available for patients.

“It's a day-to-day basis at this moment,” General Manager Rocco Levine told the Tribune-Review. “It's been rough to turn down the patients without any medicine. Everyone is crossing their fingers.”

Solevo has been closed because of a lack of inventory — a problem that's impacting other dispensaries in Pennsylvania. Only one of the state's 12 licensed marijuana growers, Cresco Yeltrah, is shipping to retailers.

Cresco Yeltrah spokesman Jason Erkes said deliveries will resume this week.

During the shortage period, Levine said patients can still visit Solevo for consultations and meetings with a pharmacist. He also plans to hold a public, informational session about medical marijuana from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Medical marijuana dispensaries opened in Pennsylvania on Feb. 15.

One local grower and processor, PurePenn in McKeesport, expects to deliver medical marijuana products by mid-April.

PurePenn CEO Gabe Perlow said part of the supply problem is that the state Department of Health approved Cresco Yeltrah to begin growing in October. Like many other growers, PurePenn was not approved to begin growing until December.

“I'm thinking the market will stabilize in April,” Perlow said. “There may even be too much supply.”

When the first phase of the medical marijuana program is fully operational, 12 grower-processors will supply 51 dispensaries across the state.

Cresco Yeltrah's dispensary in Butler, CY+, has a limited product selection and remains open, Erkes said.

Under state law, patients can apply for a state-issued medical marijuana card if a doctor certifies they have one of 17 medical conditions, including epilepsy, cancer, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders.

Qualified patients with a doctor's recommendation will receive a Pennsylvania medical marijuana identification card, permitting the purchase of medical marijuana from an authorized state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

Dispensaries are also allowed to sell equipment, such as vaping devices for liquid forms, to administer medical marijuana.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed a medical marijuana bill into law in April 2016. Medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is available in pills, oils, tinctures or ointments. The Health Department is regulating the program, which forbids smoking marijuana in dry leaf form.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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