The first medical marijuana dispensary has opened in White Township News

The medical marijuana dispensary Ayr Wellness is scheduled to open June 1 at the former Rent-A-Center store at 2244 Oakland Ave., White Township.

It will be the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in the Indiana area, and the nearest other dispensaries are in Johnstown.

“This is the first outpatient clinic in White Township,” said White Township chief Chris Anderson. “No other outpatient clinic has tried to visit before. We have never received an application for a permit or a development package from them. “

Howard Lavigne, a partner at Oakland Developers, said he worked with his partner through Auckland, as well as with Altoona real estate agent Bob Warner and Greensburg realtor Vicky Pilat, to purchase the property for rent at Ayr Wellness. Lavin said the establishment of a dispensary in Indiana is important because of the lack of access to medical cannabis in the area.

“Indiana is an underserved area,” Lavin said. “There are no medications nearby.”

Current data could not be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, but according to the Department of Health in a New Castle News article of August 23, 2021, there were no dispensaries in Indiana, despite more than 2,500 patients with medical marijuana and 83,000 county residents. .

The Department of Health divides Pennsylvania into six regions to monitor its medical marijuana program. The Southwest Region, Region 5, includes 11 counties, including Indiana. With more than 126,000 medical marijuana patients in Region 5, Indiana is one of four counties, including Armstrong, Green and Somerset, that do not have an outpatient setting, according to New Castle News.

According to Anderson, White Township leaders received a $ 450,000 building permit in March from the township’s building regulations department to set up a former Rent-A-Center for cannabis retail.

Avalanche said the building is undergoing a complete renovation.

“We’re redoing everything,” Lavin said. “Everything is new inside, ceiling, floors, counters. There’s a shelter they built. … It will look like a new building. “

Because Ayr Wellness will use the existing building for its operations, the medical marijuana company did not need to issue new building permits to White Township executives.

The dispensary will serve medical marijuana patients who have cards registered with the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program. Despite the number of Indiana colleges, Avalanche said community members will be the dispensary’s main beneficiaries year-round.

“I believe that more people (age) 40 and older go to the dispensary,” Lavin said. “I think college students will (go) too, but it’s not really based on college – it’s based on community. There is a need in society. “

Avalanche said the former Rent-A-Center was an ideal location because of its accessibility to the city. He said he hopes to bring to the area another restaurant, in the former Payless ShoeSource building at the former Rent-A-Center, which was also acquired by Oakland Developers.

“I would really like to put a couple of food trucks in the parking lot so we can alternate different types of food,” Lavin said. “But if we put up a restaurant, we won’t get food trucks. We are looking for someone to take this (place) to go to a restaurant ”.

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