Editorial: Progressive thinking in Kennett Township
● By Richard Gaw
On June 29, the Pennsylvania State Department of Health granted permits to 27 medical marijuana holders in the commonwealth -- including Chester County -- to create a total of 52 dispensaries. The permittees were given six months to become operational, before they can begin dispensing medical marijuana. Each of the dispensary permit holders is eligible to open a total of three locations.
The decision was made on the heels of the passage of the Medical Marijuana Act on May 17, 2016, which is expected to be fully implemented in early 2018. The implementation of the state's Medical Marijuana Program will offer medical marijuana to patients who are under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Autism, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, Huntington’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, Intractable Seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuropathies, Parkinson’s Disease, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, severe chronic or intractable pain and Sickle Cell Anemia.
For those living through the effects of these severe medical ailments, the news from Harrisburg was good. Once the program is fully operational, patients will have several locations throughout Pennsylvania to purchase medical marijuana to assist in their treatment. In May, a proposal to open and operate one medical marijuana growing location in East Marlborough Township was later rejected unanimously by the township’s supervisors on July 12. The supervisors had reservations about extensive home construction that is in the works on land near the proposed facility, as well as access to the building in case of a fire.
But there is reassuring news for cancer patients in the community, and it's coming out of Kennett Township and demonstrates clear and progressive thinking. At the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors meeting on Sept. 6, it was announced that the township has drafted an ordinance that would provide regulations governing the hours, location, and security plans for medical marijuana-growing businesses that would consider calling the township the home base for their operations. The ordinance will reach a vote at the board's October meeting.
For those Kennett Township residents who fear that such facilities will convert their beloved country vistas into drug dens of illegalities, fear not. The township's proposed ordinance is stipulation heavy with codes, restrictions, permits, registrations and requirements, chief among them being that a dispensary would operate from an indoor, secure facility, and that no drive-through, drop-off or pick-up services would be allowed.
In the world of decision making, an elected official needs only to ask one question: "Is this in the best interest of my constituents?" We believe that a well-regulated medical marijuana dispensary in Kennett Township is in the best interest of not only the residents of the township, but for the many people in our community who currently suffering from severe pain, whose lives would be made better.