Medical marijuana company makes case for South Allison Hill site


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s always important to meet the neighbors, but a medical marijuana company trying to come to South Allison Hill isn’t getting a warm welcome from its potential neighbors across the street.

Local Dispensaries LLC made a case for their dispensary on Tuesday night to Harrisburg City Council. The dispensary would be located on South 17th Street in Allison Hill.

For the past decade, the only thing in and on the lot has been a lot of junk. 

“The proposed project will activate a long derelict site that has been used as a vehicle storage site and junkyard as far back as 2008,” said Geoffrey Knight, director of the Harrisburg Planning Bureau.

The planning commission backs the project and recommends approval, saying the company would better the neighborhood. But one of the Hill’s most prominent residents isn’t so sure. 

“Our problem is making sure that when people come into our communities that it’s done the right way,” said Jeannine Peterson, CEO of Hamilton Health Center.

Peterson understands the importance of medical marijuana but doesn’t think it’s the right fit for the Hill, the largest neighborhood in Harrisburg.  

“One of these facilities can’t be located within 1,000 feet of a daycare center. We have two of them in our community,” Peterson said.

Dispensary reps are high on the location because of its accessibility. 

“There’s potentially better access for patients that’s lacking right now, and in particular, the 17th Street corridor has access to public transportation,” a representative for Local Dispensaries LLC said.

Peterson wishes she had better access to the company. She said its community outreach has been weak. 

“It wasn’t until two weeks ago that they even came and wanted to meet with people, and the community organizations in our area are very active,” Peterson said.

The community is active and ready to be convinced. Local Dispensaries reps said they’re up to the job. 

“We want to be in an area neighborhood that ultimately wants us there. I think we have to prove ourselves,” the representative said.

Council advised Local Dispensaries LLC to coordinate a public meeting with Allison Hill residents within three weeks.

The project deadline is within the next 90 days.

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