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Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana has many restrictions for users. Sean Heisey, York Daily Record

A group of York business people is seeking a permit to grow and process medical marijuana in a former tobacco building.

A group of York County business people is looking to open a facility in York for growing marijuana indoors and turning it into oils, ointments and other non-smoking forms of the herb to treat people with a host of medical conditions.

Five-Leaf Remedies Inc. will appear in March before York’s Planning Commission and Zoning Hearing Board in regard to the company’s application for permission to use a building it owns at 213 E. Poplar St. for a growing and processing operation.

“We want to bring an innovative industry to the heart of York city,” said Christina Kauffman, a Five-Leaf Remedies spokeswoman and an investor in the company.

To make its plans a reality, the company will also need to obtain a state permit to grow and process marijuana for medicinal purposes under Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana law.

Five-Leaf Remedies may face stiff competition for that permit. York County is part of a 13-county region that is eligible for a total of two grower/ processor permits and four primary dispensary permits, said April Hutcheson, state Department of Health spokeswoman.

In York County alone, as many as six groups have inquired with municipalities about opening a medical marijuana-growing facility.

Five-Leaf plans to spend $2.5 million converting the 35,000-square-foot East Prospect Street building — a former tobacco-processing facility — into a heavily secured, modern medicinal marijuana operation, Kauffman said.

Other area people affiliated with the project include Bobby Simpson, CEO of Crispus Attucks Association; Frank Dittenhafer II, a York architect; and Jonathan Spanos, an owner of The Paddock restaurant on Market Street in Springettsbury Township and a former state homeland security official in Pennsylvania.

“This is a very civic-minded and active group of community leaders,” Kauffman said.

The company is structured as a so-called benefit corporation, which means that its mission includes benefiting the community, as well as making a profit. It plans to donate a portion of its profits to area nonprofits, she said.

In addition to seeking to grow and process medical marijuana, Five-Leaf Remedies also plans to apply to the state for permission to open dispensaries for selling its medical marijuana in the 13-county region that includes York County. The company wants to open three retail locations, Kauffman said. She said it is reviewing potential sites and hasn’t determined where the locations will be.

If the company wins the required approvals, it would expect to start its growing and processing operation in 2018, Kauffman said.

If You Go:

What: Five-Leaf Remedies application before York Planning Commission and York Zoning Hearing Board

When: 6:30 p.m. March 13 Planning Commission, 6:30 p.m. March 16 Zoning Hearing Board

Where: York City Hall, 101 S. George St. 

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