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First medical marijuana dispensary opens in Berks

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Berks County's first medical marijuana dispensary opened this week in Muhlenberg Township, more than a year after it was granted approval to open.

Harvest Dispensary is at 3225 N. Fifth Street Highway, a former FedEx Kinkos store.

The dispensary is owned by Harvest Enterprises Inc., the third-largest cannabis company in the United States. The Tempe, Arizona.-based company has dispensaries and growing/processing plants in 10 states.

The township had approved a competitor, Franklin BioScience-Penn LLC, to operate at that location more than a year ago, but the Denver, Colorado-based company pulled out over a township host tax.

Harvest had intended to retrofit a building less than a half-mile away at 2701 N. Fifth Street, the former Jack O’Reilly Tuxedos store, but it would have required costly renovations.

Harvest and Franklin BioScience were among the first group of 27 dispensaries given state approval in June 2017.

Berks residents have had to travel to Lehigh or Northampton counties to buy their medical marijuana. Keystone Canna Remedies in Bethlehem, opened in January, the first dispensary to open in Pennsylvania.

“With the opening of our Reading dispensary, patients and caregivers will no longer have to drive an hour or more to reach a dispensary,” Steve White, founder and CEO of Harvest said in a statement.

He added: “We are honored to be a part of the Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program and we look forward to playing a meaningful role in patients’ lives, the Berks County community and beyond.”

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