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Berks medical marijuana dispensary objects to special tax, could relocate

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A medical marijuana dispensary, one of two approved in Muhlenberg Township, won an appeal from the state to relocate because of a special tax imposed by the township, according to news reports.

Franklin BioScience-Penn LLC, based in Denver, Colo., which planned to operate a dispensary at 3225 N. Fifth Street Highway, a former Kinkos store, objected to the township’s “host benefit fee” of 1 percent of receipts for the first five years and 2.5 percent for the next five years.

Township manager Jamal Abodalo said the tax was to pay for additional police services for security that might be required because of the medical marijuana dispensary, according to the Reading Eagle.

The state’s Office of Medical Marijuana said the fee could result in higher prices for patients, the Philadelphia Inquirer said.

Harvest Inc. based in Arizona also plans to operate a dispensary on 2701 N. Fifth Street Highway, the site of Jack O’Reilly Tuxedos, which is less than a mile from Franklin BioScience’s location.

Harvest CEO Steve White said at a community meeting last month that he would be comfortable paying the host tax, the Reading Eagle said.

In June, Harvest Inc. and Franklin BioScience were awarded two of the 27 permits from the state Department of Health to operate medical marijuana dispensaries. Each of the permit winners is allowed to operate three stores.

Medical marijuana dispensary permits were awarded to Mission Wellness Pennsylvania LLC., 2733 W. Emaus Ave., Allentown, Keystone Canna Remedies, 1309 Stefko Blvd., Bethlehem, and Columbia Care Pennsylvania LLC-Tobyhanna Dispensary, Route 940 and Kimberly Drive, Blakeslee.

In June, two companies were awarded permits to grow and process medical marijuana in Berks County: Franklin Labs LLC at 1800 Centre Ave., the former Pepsi distribution center in Reading and Prime Wellness Pennsylvania LLC in the South Heidelberg Industrial Park at 2 Corporate Blvd. in South Heidelberg Township.

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