The Latest on a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opening on Fayette Street in Conshohocken

This week the former Exxon station, current auto repair shop, at the corner of East 7th and Fayette had its tanks removed. This led to talk about what will be replacing the repair shop in the future. The property has been for sale for a few years and a couple different developers have looked at creating ground floor retail with residential units above. That never worked out and we are told by a few different people that the latest interested party is a medical marijuana company.

If you google the address (701 Fayette Street) and “medical marijuana” you will find an application for a medical marijuana dispensary. The dispensary license was sought by Elemental Health Group, which included former State Representative Michael Gerber. Elemental did not receive a license.

While the first plan to operate a medical marijuana dispensary didn’t move forward, we are told by a source that a second medical marijuana group is interested in 701 Fayette Street. Cansortium, a medical marijuana and CBD (Cannabidiol) company that describes itself on its website as the “largest US Based, international, vertically integrated medical cannabis company in the world,”  currently operates in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Pennsylvania (York County). The dispensaries operate under the under the Knox Medical brand.

In September, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine issued a press release describing the selection of Cansortium as its research partner. This type of relationship, which is allowed under “Chapter 20″ of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana laws, operates differently than the regular dispensary license.

An explanation of ‘Chapter 20” from

Chapter 20 of Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law provided for a first-in-the-nation, state sanctioned clinical research program. Under the law as originally enacted, Academic Clinical Research Centers (ACRC)— medical schools that are partnered with acute care hospitals – would affiliate with a potential grower/processor and dispensary operator to conduct clinical research. After certification from the State as an ACRC, The ACRC would select a partner and the affiliated grower and dispensary operator would separately apply for licenses. The State would not regulate the selection by the ACRC of a grower and dispensary operator, but the grower and dispensary operator would otherwise have to be qualified to obtain a Pennsylvania license to operate. Unlike the initial round of licenses awarded in Pennsylvania, these clinical research licenses would not be awarded by a competitive process. The choice of the operator would be solely in the discretion of the ACRC and if otherwise qualified to operate, it would be awarded a license and have the ability to open six dispensaries. Current licenses are only allowed three dispensaries. Each dispensary under Chapter 20 however must have an ongoing clinical research study to remain open.

From the PCOM press release:

Under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana laws, the partners are permitted to conduct extensive research on the pharmacology, biochemistry and long-term best practices for patients on medical marijuana regimens. PCOM’s team of investigators has developed a collaborative, interdisciplinary research program that will examine the impact of medical marijuana on physical and mental health, quality of life, chronic pain and opioid utilization and addiction. Results of these studies will be shared among researchers to accelerate the pace of evidence-based recommendations of medical marijuana for the treatment of specific conditions.

“After a rigorous selection process, it is an honor and privilege for Cansortium to partner with a leading medical research institution that aligns with our holistic approach to patient care,” said Jose Hidalgo, Cansortium Founder & CEO. “At the end of the day, our company is focused on outcomes that improve the lives of our patients suffering from debilitating diseases and disorders. It is our expectation that the data and insights emerging from this partnership will greatly expand the US-based scientific documentation around the many benefits of medical marijuana.”
Participants will be recruited on a statistically sound basis for voluntary longitudinal studies across multiple conditions and disciplines. To support these efforts, Cansortium as the clinical registrant is permitted to open up to six retail dispensaries across the state to coordinate research efforts and dispense product directly to patients. Those facilities also play a vital role as hubs for physician education and outreach programs.

As mentioned above, under this partnership, Cansortium will be allowed to operate six dispensaries. We are told that 701 Fayette Street is a desired site for one.

In 2017, many municipalities amended their zoning to allow for medical marijuana dispensaries to operate. The Borough of Conshohocken started the process, but eventually never moved forward with it. We are told by a source that the existing zoning uses permitted in the Commercial District were deemed sufficient. Permitted uses include the sale of “drugs.”

Please note that the service station hasn’t closed. We have also not seen any plans for the property from Cansortium.

Stay tuned for more.