MOON TWP. — If one of seven medical marijuana permits for southwestern Pennsylvania is awarded locally, Moon Township officials want to be ready.

The township’s board of supervisors will consider adopting regulations Wednesday that would allow licensed medical marijuana growers and distributors to open shop in two zoning districts. If approved, medical marijuana could be sold or grown in areas zoned as research and technology and industrial. That comprises the Moon-Clinton Road corridor and several areas along the northern border of the township, including an industrial area off Brodhead Road near the Beaver County border, said Dawn Lane, township manager.

“We need to try to help the process in Moon Township to allow for medical marijuana in specific districts so it doesn’t interfere with residents or existing corporations,” Lane said. “We’re being proactive. We have to establish regulations as to where it can be sold, processed and grown.”

Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in April 2016, allowing physicians to prescribe the drug to Pennsylvania residents who they are treating with a serious medical condition defined in the state law. Officials from the state Department of Health said the department accept applications for permits from Feb. 20 until March 20.

The 11-county southwest region, which includes Beaver, Allegheny, Washington, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana, Cambria, Somerset, Westmoreland, Fayette and Greene counties, is slated to receive five dispensary permits and two grower or processor permits. In total the state department of health will issue 27 dispensary permits and 12 grower permits, divided into six geographical regions. The southwest and southeast regions have the most permits allotted.

In Moon, operating as a grower or dispensary will be a permitted use in two zoning areas, Lane said, meaning that if a business receives a license from the state it won’t need special permission from the township to operate in those zoning districts.

Lane said officials began developing the regulations in the fall and haven’t heard any response from residents. A public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, before the township supervisors meeting where it will be considered for adoption.

“In some suburbs, it’s difficult because you have the property to allow for the development,” Lane said. “It doesn’t fit into residential, it doesn’t fit into multi-family. With our space limited to begin with, it’s been a clean process for us.”

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