A medical marijuana dispensary is being proposed at a vacant bank in East Allen Township where a robbery and deadly shooting took place more than 30 years ago.
Township Solicitor Joseph Piperato III told township supervisors Thursday that an interested party has surfaced with a desire to establish a dispensary on the grounds of the former First National Bank of Bath, located on a hill overlooking Route 329 and Airport Road. He did not identify the party by name.
Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana last year. The law mandates that municipalities provide zoning for grower-processor and dispensary facilities with the goal of patient access to prescriptions by 2018.
Dispensaries would only be allowed to provide medical marijuana in the form of liquid, oils, pills, ointments or creams to patients with one of 17 specific medical conditions named in the law.
The township is in the process of crafting an ordinance tailored along the lines of a model provided by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. It will likely be advertised for adoption sometime in the spring.
As part of the ordinance, the township must identify where dispensaries would be a permitted use, as well as growing and manufacturing operations.
“(The state) says we have to have a zone for every permitted use the state allows,” Supervisor Mark Schwartz said. “We don’t have an option in this to say no.”
The Department of Health began accepting applications for grower-processor and dispensary permits earlier this month with a cut-off date of March 20. It has divided the state into six regions, with the Lehigh Valley planned for two to eight dispensaries and no more than two grower/processor operations.
Dispensaries have been proposed for sites across the Valley, including Easton and Emmaus. A grower-processor has proposed a facility in Lynn Township, Lehigh County. Competition