(WBRE/WYOU) – This old building on South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre could soon help thousands of people struggling with illness. The Keystone Center hopes to turn it into a marijuana dispensary. Some residents say they’d be glad to see new life in what’s become an eyesore.
“I’m okay with it. It’s not something that I do but, I have people in my family who are sick and they say that might help,” said Pat Merrick, who lives near the abandoned building.
Last night, Wilkes-Barre City Council voted to sell the property and a nearby lot to Artanor, LLC. It is a real estate holding company for the developers, Keystone Center of Integrated Wellness. The old building used to be a saw mill. The city’s redevelopment authority took it over around 2001 and it’s been vacant ever since.
“It’ll be back on the tax rolls and they anticipate (the project) will bring at least eight to 10 jobs to the city,” said City Administrator Ted Wampole.
There is tough competition in northeast Pennsylvania among companies vying for one of the commonwealth’s limited permits, including a proposal for a processing facility in Laurel Run Borough by the company Bright Star Biomedics. Hazleton recently passed an ordinance, which paves the way to allow these businesses. Despite the good many claim medical marijuana has, some locals don’t agree with the proposed projects.
“I think maybe possibly, (people could) get into car accidents. They could be high and driving. It’s not good,” said Ed Lord.
Keystone Center leaders say their dispensary would only provide the approved forms of medical marijuana, like pills and creams, not plants. And they say that there will only be .3 percent or less of T.C.H. in the product. THC is what causes the