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Avoca native Mary Pat Julias wants to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Mayfield and Wilkes-Barre as part of a larger ambition: to offer a holistic approach to helping people become healthy and lead productive lives.

Julias is among hundreds of applicants statewide seeking 39 state permits to become part of Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana industry. Locally, she is joined by the owner of a hydroponic greenhouse in Wyoming County who wants to grow medical marijuana and the owner of a medical device firm in Bethlehem who wants to grow medical marijuana in Covington Twp., among others.

The state Health Department anticipates issuing medical marijuana permits for grower/processors and dispensaries at the end of June. Applications were due March 20.

“Our 90-day timetable to review, score and issue permits is doable,” Health Secretary and Scranton native Karen Murphy, RN, Ph.D., said late last week.

The department is busy reviewing and logging more than 500 packages, many of which contain multiple applications for the two permit categories: grower/processor and dispensary.

Grower applicants had to describe their business, undergo a federal and state criminal background check, provide a statement that they are of good moral character, show how they can keep the marijuana secure and outline how they will hire a diverse workforce. They paid a nonrefundable fee of $10,000 and a permit fee of $200,000, which can be refunded if a permit is not granted, and showed proof of $2 million in capital.

Dispensary applicants provided the same background information as grower applicants. They paid a $5,000 nonrefundable fee and a permit fee of $30,000, which can be refunded if a permit is not granted, and showed proof of $150,000 in capital.

Review underway

The permit review involves making sure that applications are complete

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