Updated: Thursday, August 31, 2017, 7:14 PM
Political and community opposition to a proposed medical marijuana dispensary planned for Northwest Philadelphia has forced its owners to look for another location.
TerraVida Holistic Center, which has two additional dispensaries planned for Sellersville and Abington, had been granted a permit in June to operate out of a former bank building on the 8300 block of Stenton Avenue in East Mount Airy. City Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker, who represents the district, led a charge to revoke the dispensary’s zoning permit. Parker argued that the dispensary would be located within 500 feet of an unlicensed child-care business and that students would be boarding buses outside the dispensary.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Wednesday gave its approval to relocate TerraVida to another site in the southeastern region of the state, said Chris Visco, TerraVida’s president. By state law, TerraVida must open its three dispensaries by early January. Visco estimated TerraVida will have lost $100,000 on the Stenton location in permit, zoning, and legal fees.
“We really wanted to be in this community, but we thought this was the right thing to do,” Visco said. “We would like to open another location in Philadelphia, and if we can find another location close by, that would be great.”
The announcement leaves Philadelphia with three proposed medical marijuana dispensaries — PharmaCannis LIFE near the Philadelphia Mills mall; Restore Integrative Wells Center on the 900 block of Frankford Avenue in Fishtown; and Holistic Pharma on Krewstown Road in the Northeast.