Berks County’s first medical marijuana dispensary held a grand opening over the weekend.
Although Harvest Dispensary, 3225 N. Fifth Street Highway, has been open for a month, the small celebration on Saturday marked its official debut.
Harvest officials said they expect to hire about 20 people for the dispensary.
“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 Enterprises Inc., based in Tempe, Arizona, said in a statement.
“Our experienced staff and medical professionals will be on call and ready to service patients and answer their questions regarding medical marijuana products that may bring them relief,” White said.
Harvest said it plans to expand into other areas of the state and country. The company and its affiliates have more than 40 licenses and operate in eight states.
The dispensary is one of two in Berks that were among the first round of 27 permits awarded in 2017 by the state Department of Health for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Harvest’s location was originally going to house Franklin BioScience, the other permit holder. But the Denver, Colorado-based company withdrew its plans after the township imposed a host fee that was intended to cover the costs for extra police services it anticipated would be necessary from having medical marijuana businesses in the community.
Franklin BioScience, which operates in several states, has not yet opened a dispensary in the township.