Philadelphia seeks a foothold in medical marijuana grower industry

Local leaders take on the state over permits.

Pat Loeb
May 09, 2018 - 12:18 pm
Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green and Pa. state Rep. Jordan Harris

Pat Loeb-KYW Newsradio

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As the Pennsylvania Health Department takes applications for permits to grow medical marijuana, local elected officials are calling on the governor to ensure that Philadelphia gets at least one.

Officials made their case on Wednesday. 

Councilman Derek Green says that by 2020, medical marijuana will be a $2 billion industry in Pennsylvania, and he wants Philadelphia to get its fair share.

"When you have an opportunity to bring a new industry into our city and provide economic development opportunities, it's important to raise this voice and raise this issue," he said. 

RELATED: Despite hurdles, medical pot dispensary finds home in Center City Philly

Green was joined by State Rep. Jordan Harris, who noted that the benefits extend beyond the actual grow facility.

"We want to have all of the ancillary businesses that come with it," Green said. "And we want to begin to train our young people how to cultivate and how to do so legally, because that is the industry of the future."

The state awarded 12 permits, last year, but Philadelphia was shut out entirely, despite several applicants. This year, 13 more will be awarded. Of the 25 total, nine are supposed to go to Southeastern Pennsylvania. Just two of last year's permits were awarded to the region, both in Berks County. A state spokeswoman said applications are evaluated on a rubric published on the state website and it's too early to know what will happen this year.