PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It holds the promise of relief for tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians, and the new dispensary in Squirrel Hill is ready to provide it, but the supply of medical marijuana is limited.
“Right now, there’s a little hiccup in the road, bump in the road, and we’re just dealing with it,” said Sam Britz, the operator of Solevo Wellness.
In its first week, 500 patients have visited Solevo, but while Britz says nearly all of all those patients have gotten some medical marijuana, many haven’t gotten the quantity or variety that they want.
“It’s a little frustrating. It’s frustrating for the patients, too. But they understand,” said Britz.
While two dispensaries have opened up in our region, there’s only one grower supplying them, and that’s not enough to meet the demand.
Under the new state law, the dispensaries can’t get supplies from out of state, so they must wait on licensed, in-state grower-processors like PurePenn in McKeepsort, which only began growing pot in December.
“We’re moving along at the pace we always indicated we would move at,” said Gabe Perlow, of PurePenn.
The state Health Department prohibits the media from going inside the grow labs, but PurePenn provided KDKA with video and pictures of the marijuana grow in progress.
Once the plants flower, the medicinal properties will be extracted, tested and distilled into oils, tinctures and pills. But, for PurePenn and more than a half dozen other growers, that’s all still several weeks away.
“So, we have one grower supplying the whole state right now,” said Perlow. “Come April, you’ll have eight more coming on line with product.”
The fact that these growers will supply a variety of products is key.
With medical marijuana, it’s not one size fits all. Growers will specialize in producing products for specific medical conditions. On-site pharmacists at the dispensaries point patients to the ones best suited for their condition — which can range from Crohn’s disease to cancer.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “So people just have to be patient before this goes full bore?”
Perlow: “It’s about being patient, and for us as grower-processors, we don’t rush our quality. We make a very quality product, so we’re not going to rush just to get it out to market.”
“It’s a cooperation between the growers and dispensaries in the state. We’re all working together to make this happen, and it is happening. It’s happening in Pennsylvania faster than any other state,” said Britz.