Medical marijuana shop planned for Fort Washington Office Park

The closed Exxon station at 475 Pennsylvania Ave. — the corner of Pennsylvania and Commerce Drive — is the location of a medical marijuana dispensary planned by Bay LLC, operating as Cure Pennsylvania.

UPPER DUBLIN >> A vacant gas station in the Fort Washington Office Park has been tagged as the proposed site of a medical marijuana dispensary, but past flooding on the property could put that proposition on hold.

The closed Exxon station at 475 Pennsylvania Avenue — the corner of Pennsylvania and Commerce Drive — is the location of the dispensary planned by Bay LLC, operating as Cure Pennsylvania.

Six licenses to dispense medical marijuana products at 14 locations in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties were announced June 29 by the state health department. Two other Cure PA dispensaries are planned for Lancaster and Phoenixville.

Upper Dublin Township’s first contact with Cure Colorado, which is the same company as Cure Pennsylvania, was an Aug. 2 conference call, Township Manager Paul Leonard said Aug. 3.

“We had received no applications or written correspondence from them whatsoever,” prior to the call, he said. The callers said they have a lease on the property, but had not been to the Fort Washington location, and asked about the permitting process, Leonard said.

“Our response was not to render any opinions until we receive an application,” he said. The PA Department of Health was asked for Cure PA’s application, but “got little back,” he said. “The state is not sharing who the owners are.”

Justin Bruce is listed as the primary contact for Cure PA on the heavily redacted application on the department of health’s website. A department spokesman told the Ambler Gazette Aug. 7 that he could not provide any contact information for Cure PA or Bruce.

A person answering the phone at Cure Colorado Aug. 7 advised emailing the company to obtain contact information for Justin Bruce. An email requesting information was not responded to prior to publication.

“They’re [Cure PA] asking us what our processes are,” Leonard said. “We advised them to get a land use attorney who knows Pennsylvania law.”

The gas station at 475 Pennsylvania Ave. was closed more than 20 years ago, Leonard said.

“It sits in the floodplain conservation district and has restrictions,” he said. “Our engineer and mapping for the property [show] it would be subject to flooding. It could be 9 feet under water,” he said.

The property is zoned Employment Center and is also within the Fort Washington Overlay, he said.

It “definitely flooded before,” Leonard said, and recalled a 1989 fatality when an office park employee cut across the property at Commerce and Pennsylvania during a heavy rainstorm and was swept down a drain and died.

In a Sustainable Revitalization of the Fort Washington Office Park report, the property is one of 19 sending properties identified. A “sending” property is one that is prone to flooding.

It would be considered a drug dispensary, which is a permitted use, Leonard said, adding it would need to be fenced and would have to comply with the township’s ordinances and building permits.

“They have to tell us what they propose, and we would impose the ordinances,” he said.

“Our ordinances have significant regulations for drug sales,” Leonard said. State law allows the sale of medical marijuana only as extract, oil and tincture, and “it’s very closely determined who can get a prescription.”

The company “would have to have a physician or pharmacist on-site, and they couldn’t prescribe it,” he said.

The “state law has been characterized by many people as well-done for security; it tightly regulates” the sale of medical marijuana, Leonard said.

As of Aug. 3, the township had not received an application to house a medical marijuana dispensary at the location.

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