Building a Cannabis Dispensary in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Cannabis Legal Status: Medical Sales are Legal

There is one primary governing body of cannabis construction and operation in Pennsylvania medical marijuana program: The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana. The PDH inspects the cannabis dispensaries for final operation approval, but construction means, and methods is also governed by the local municipal building departments.

Building Code

Building a dispensary in Pennsylvania is subject to both local municipal building inspections, which follows the universal building code and also final inspections by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana.

The final Pennsylvania cannabis building inspections are done through the local municipal building department, but operation approval also must pass inspection by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana.

Local building inspectors will inspect that all building code requirements and standard life safety items have been satisfactorily met in the cannabis dispensary and the PDH will inspect that the dispensary-specific requirements have been met such as proper surveillance, online monitoring, and required vault construction and cannabis storage among other items.

There are six (6) dispensary facility regions in Pennsylvania, broken down as follows:

Southeast

Current cannabis dispensaries: 9

Northeast

Current cannabis dispensaries: 3

Southcentral

Current cannabis dispensaries: 3

Northcentral

Current cannabis dispensaries: 2

Southwest

Current cannabis dispensaries: 4

Northwest

Current dispensaries: 2

As of October 2020

Security Requirements

Pennsylvania specifies all security and surveillance requirements via Pennsylvania code Sec.1161.31. Compared to other state codes, it is one of the more detailed lists of requirements.

Pennsylvania Cannabis Dispensary Construction

 (a)  A dispensary shall have security and surveillance systems, utilizing commercial-grade equipment, to prevent unauthorized entry and to prevent and detect an adverse loss. The security and surveillance systems must include all of the following:

   (1)  A professionally monitored security alarm system that includes the following:

     (i)   Coverage of all facility entrances and exits; rooms with exterior windows, exterior walls, roof hatches or skylights; storage rooms, including those that contain medical marijuana and safes; and the perimeter of the facility.

     (ii)   A silent security alarm system signal, known as a duress alarm, generated by the entry of a designated code into an arming station in order to signal that the alarm user is being forced to turn off the system.

     (iii)   An audible security alarm system signal, known as a panic alarm, generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation requiring law enforcement response.

     (iv)   A silent alarm signal, known as a holdup alarm, generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a robbery in progress.

     (v)   An electrical, electronic, mechanical or other device capable of being programmed to send a prerecorded voice message requesting dispatch, when activated, over a telephone line, radio or other communication system to a law enforcement, public safety or emergency services agency.

     (vi)   A failure notification system that provides an audible, text or visual notification of any failure in the systems. The failure notification system must provide by telephone, e-mail or text message an alert to a designated security person within the facility within 5 minutes after the failure.

     (vii)   Smoke and fire alarms.

     (viii)   Auxiliary power sufficient to maintain security and surveillance systems for at least 48 hours following a power outage.

     (ix)   The ability to ensure all access doors are not solely controlled by an electronic access panel to prevent locks from becoming released during a power outage.

     (x)   Motion detectors.

   (2)  A professionally monitored security and surveillance system that is operational 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and records all activity in images capable of clearly revealing facial detail. The security and surveillance system must include all of the following:

     (i)   Fixed camera placement that allows for a clear image of all individuals and activities in and around the following:

       (A)   Any area of a facility where medical marijuana products are loaded or unloaded into or from transport vehicles.

       (B)   Entrances to and exits from a facility. Entrances and exits must be recorded from both indoor and outdoor vantage points.

       (C)   Rooms with exterior windows, exterior walls, roof hatches or skylights and storage rooms, including those that may contain medical marijuana products and safes.

       (D)   Five feet from the exterior of the perimeter of a facility.

       (E)   All limited access areas.

     (ii)   Auxiliary power sufficient to maintain security and surveillance systems for at least 48 hours following a power outage.

     (iii)   The ability to operate under the normal lighting conditions of each area under surveillance.

     (iv)   The ability to immediately produce a clear, color, still photograph in a digital format that meets the requirements of this subsection.

   (3)  The ability to clearly and accurately display the date and time. The date and time must be synchronized and set correctly and may not significantly obscure the picture.

   (4)  The ability to record and store all images captured by each surveillance camera for a minimum of 2 years in a format that may be easily accessed for investigative purposes. The recordings must be kept:

     (i)   At the facility:

       (A)   In a locked cabinet, closet or other secure place to protect it from tampering or theft.

       (B)   In a limited access area or other room to which access is limited to authorized individuals.

     (ii)   At a secure location other than the location of the facility if approved by the Department.

   (5)  A security alarm system separate from the facility’s primary security system covering the limited access area or other room where the recordings under paragraph (4) are stored. The separate security alarm system must meet the same requirements as the facility’s primary security alarm system.

 (b)  The following apply regarding the inspection, servicing or alteration of, and the upgrade to, the dispensary facility’s security and surveillance systems:

   (1)  The systems shall be inspected and all devices tested once every year by a qualified alarm system vendor and a qualified surveillance system vendor, as approved by the Department.

   (2)  The dispensary shall conduct maintenance inspections once every month to ensure that any repairs, alterations or upgrades to the security and surveillance systems are made for the proper operation of the systems.

   (3)  The dispensary shall retain at the facility, for at least 4 years, records of all inspections, servicing, alterations and upgrades performed on the systems and shall make the records available to the Department and its authorized agents within 2 business days following a request.

   (4)  In the event of a mechanical malfunction of the security or surveillance system that the dispensary anticipates will exceed a 4-hour period, the dispensary shall notify the Department immediately and, with Department approval, provide alternative security measures that may include closure of the facility.

   (5)  The dispensary shall designate an employee to continuously monitor the security and surveillance systems at the facility.

   (6)  The following requirements apply regarding records retention:

     (i)   Within 2 business days following a request, a dispensary shall provide up to four screen captures of an unaltered copy of a video surveillance recording to the Department or its authorized agents, law enforcement, or other Federal, State or local government officials if necessary to perform the government officials’ functions and duties.

     (ii)   If a dispensary has been notified in writing by the Department or its authorized agents, law enforcement, or other Federal, State or local government officials of a pending criminal or administrative investigation for which a recording may contain relevant information, the dispensary shall retain an unaltered copy of the recording for 4 years or until the investigation or proceeding is closed or the entity conducting the investigation or proceeding notifies the dispensary that it is not necessary to retain the recording, whichever is longer.

 (c)  A dispensary shall install commercial-grade, nonresidential steel doors and door locks on each room where medical marijuana products are stored and on each external door of the facility. Keys or key codes for all doors shall remain in the possession of designated authorized individuals.

 (d)  During all nonworking hours, all entrances to and exits from the facility must be securely locked.

 (e)  A dispensary shall have an electronic back-up system for all electronic records.

 (f)  A dispensary shall install lighting to ensure proper surveillance inside and outside of the facility.

 (g)  A dispensary shall limit access to a room in a facility containing security and surveillance monitoring equipment to persons who are essential to maintaining security and surveillance operations; Federal, State and local law enforcement; security and surveillance system service employees; the Department or its authorized agents; and other persons with the prior written approval of the Department. The following requirements apply:

   (1)  A dispensary shall make available to the Department or the Department’s authorized agents, upon request, a current list of authorized employees and service employees or contractors who have access to any security and surveillance areas.

   (2)  A dispensary facility shall keep security and surveillance rooms locked at all times and may not use these rooms for any other purpose or function.

Zoning Law

Pennsylvania code specifically prohibits a dispensary and dispensary construction from being located:

  1. Within 1000 feet of the property line of a public, private or parochial school, or day-care center;
  2. At the same site used for growing/processing medical marijuana;
  3. In the same office space as a practitioner or other physician

The PDH has the authority to waive or amend the above restrictions as it sees fit to ‘protect individuals under 18 years of age and to prevent unauthorized access to medical marijuana’.

Pennsylvania Cannabis
Trade Association

Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition (PCC)

“The Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition is a 501(c)6 trade organization comprised of Pennsylvania medical marijuana permit holders. Our purpose is to protect and preserve Pennsylvania’s emerging medical marijuana market.”

Contact: meredith@pcanna.org

Cannabis News – Active Dispensaries

Abington

TerraVida Holistic Centers – Abington 1626 Old York Road Abington PA 19001

Aliquippa

Liberty – Aliquippa 2320 Sheffield Rd Aliquippa PA 15001

Altoona

Herbology – Altoona 514 E Pleasant Valley Blvd Altoona PA 16602

Allentown

Columbia Care – Allentown 3025 W Tilghman Street Allentown PA 18104

Ethos Pennsylvania – Allentown 2733 W. Emmaus Avenue Allentown PA 18103

Keystone Canna Remedies – Allentown 3340 Hamilton Blvd Allentown PA 18103

Ardmore

Beyond Hello – Ardmore 39 Cricket Ave Ardmore PA 19003

Bensalem

Liberty 4201 Neshaminy Blvd Unit 101 Bensalem PA 19020

Bethlehem

Keystone Canna Remedies 1309 Stefko Blvd Bethlehem PA 18017

Green Goods – Bethlehem 3679 Route 378, Unit 10 Bethlehem PA 18015

Bloomsburg

Nature’s Medicines Bloomsburg 261 Columbia Mall Drive Bloomsburg PA

Bradford

DuBois Wellness Center – Herbology 109 Main Street Bradford PA 16701

Bristol

Beyond Hello – Bristol 2412-2414 Durham Road Bristol PA 19007

Brookville

Herbology Brookville 240 W Main Street Brookville PA 15825

Butler

Cresco Yeltrah – Butler County 201 Pillow St Bulter PA 16001

Camp Hill

Harvest of Camp Hill 3401 Hartzdale Drive Camp Hill PA 17011

Carlisle

RISE – Carlisle 872 Harrisburg Pike PA 17013

Chambersburg

Organic Remedies – Chambersburg 900 Wayne Avenue Chambersburg PA 17201

RISE – Chambersburg 1640 Orchard Drive Chambersburg PA 17201

College

Nature’s Medicines 2105 N Atherton Street State College PA 16803

Cranberry

The Healing Center – Cranberry 270 Executive Drive Cranberry PA 16066

RISE – Cranberry 20808 Route 19 Cranberry Township PA 16066

Cranberry Township

Harvest of Cranberry Township 20269 Route 19 N Cranberry Township PA 16066

Devon

Keystone Shops – Devon 420 West Lancaster Ave Devon PA 19333

Doylestown

Restore – Doylestown 812 N Easton Road, Unit 6 Doylestown PA 18902

DuBois

Herbology – DuBois Wellness Center, LLC 1222 South Brady Street DuBois PA 15801

Duncansville

RISE – Duncansville 370 Pound Lane Duncansville PA 16634

East Thorndale

Apothecarium Dispensary – Thorndale 2701 Lincoln Highway East Thorndale PA 19372

Edwardsville

Justice Grown 7B Gateway Shopping Center Edwardsville PA 18704

Elkins Park

Restore Integrative Wellness Center, LLC 8003 Old York Road Elkins Park PA 19027

Enola

Organic Remedies-Enola 4425 Valley Road Enola PA 17025

Erie

RISE – Erie 2108 W. 8th Street Erie PA 16505

Gettysburg

Herbology – Gettysburg 19 Baltimore Street Gettysburg PA 17325

Greensburg

Delta 9 PA 305 East Pittsburgh Street Greensburg PA 15601

Hanover

Knox Medical (Cansortium Pennsylvania, LLC) 648 Frederick Street Hanover PA 17331

Harrisburg

Vytal Options – Harrisburg 4711 Queen Avenue Suite 101 Harrisburg PA 17109

Harvest of Harrisburg 2500-2504 N 6th St Harrisburg PA 17110

ZenLeaf 137 S. 7th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104

Hermitage

RISE – Hermitage 2880 E State Street Hermitage PA 16148

King of Prussia

Keystone Shops – King of Prussia 367 S Henderson King of Prussia PA 19406

Johnstown

Harvest of Johnstown 339 Main Street Johnstown PA 15901

Beyond Hello – Johnstown 416 Main Street Johnstown PA 15901

AES Herbology – Morton 409 Baltimore Pike Morton PA 19070

King of Prussia

Herbology – King of Prussia 110 N Warner Rd King of Prussia PA 19406

RISE – King of Prussia 445 West DeKalb Pike King of Prussia PA 19706

Harvest of King of Prussia 826 W Dekalb Pike King of Prussia PA 19406

Lancaster

Cure Pennsylvania 1866 Fruitville Pike Lancaster PA 17601

Apothecarium Dispensary 2405 Covered Bridge Dr, Suite 125 Lancaster PA 17602

Vytal Options – Lancaster 39 E Chestnut Street Lancaster PA 17602

Latrobe

RISE – Latrobe 117 Beatty County Rd Latrobe PA 15650

Lebanon

Herbology – Lebanon 815 Cumberland Street Lebanon PA 17042

Malvern

TerraVida Holistic Centers – Malvern 249 Planebrook Road Malvern PA 19355

Mechanicsburg

RISE – Mechanicsburg 507 N York Street Mechanicsburg PA 17055

Monroeville

The Healing Center Monroeville 130 Mall Circle Drive Monroeville Pa 15146

RISE Monroeville 3838 William Penn Highway Monroeville PA 15146

Montgomeryville

Ethos Pennsylvania – Montgomeryville 921 Bethlehem Pike Montgomeryville PA 18936

New Castle

RISE – New Castle 2622 W. State Street New Castle PA 16101

Ayr Wellness 809 Sampson Street New Castle PA 16101

New Kensington

Yes Cresco Yeltrah – New Kensington 4 Kensington Square New Kensington PA 15068

Norristown

Liberty – Norristown 2030 West Main Street Norristown PA 19403

Philadelphia

Restore Integrative Wellness Center, LLC 957-963 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia PA 19125

Liberty – Philadelphia 8900 Krewstown Road Philadelphia PA 19115

CURE Pennsylvania – Philadelphia 4502 City Avenue Philadelphia PA 19131

Herbology – Philadelphia 1125-1127 Passyunk Avenue Philadelphia PA 19147

Beyond Hello – Franklin Bioscience Penn Dispensary 1206 Sansom Street Philadelphia PA 19107

Beyond Hello – Northern Liberties Philadelphia 475 N 5th Street Philadelphia PA 19123

Verilife 4026 Main Street Philadelphia PA 19127

Ethos Pennsylvania – Philadelphia 807 Locust Street Philadelphia PA 19107

Phoenixville

Cure Pennsylvania 500 Kimberton Road Phoenixville PA 19460

Pittsburgh

Solevo-Squirrel Hill 5600 Forward Ave Pittsburgh PA 15217

Cresco Yeltrah – Allegheny County 2116 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15222

Maitri Medicinals – Pittsburgh 5845 Centre Ave Pittsburgh PA 15206

Delta 9 PA 211 52nd Street Pittsburgh PA 15201

Plymouth Meeting

The Apothecarium Dispensary 420 Plymouth Road, Plymouth Meeting PA 19462

Pottstown

Restore Pottstown 1450 East High Street Pottstown PA 19464

Reading

Harvest of Reading 3225 N. 5th Street Highway Reading PA 19605

Harvest of Reading – Lancaster Ave 201 Lancaster Ave Reading PA 19611

BEYOND/HELLO – Reading 300 Cherry Street Reading PA 19602

Scranton

Columbia Care – Keyser Dispensary 1790 North Keyser Avenue Scranton PA 18508

Beyond Hello – Scranton 1137 Moosic Street Scranton PA 18505

Harvest of Scranton 340 S Washington Ave Scranton PA 18505

Green Goods 1146 S Main Avenue Scranton PA 18504

Sellersville

TerraVida Holistic Centers – Sellersville 64 N. Main St Sellersville PA 18960

Selinsgrove

Nature’s Medicines Selinsgrove 1420 N Susquehanna Trail PA

Shamokin

Verilife Shamokin 520 N. Shamokin Street Shamokin PA 17872

Steelton

RISE – Steelton 801 South Front Street Steelton PA 17113

Stroudsburg

Keystone Canna Remedies – Stroudsburg 1523 N 9th Street Stroudsburg PA 18360

Uniontown

Maitri Medicinals – Uniontown 27-31 West Main Street Uniontown PA 15401

Washington

The Healing Center – Washington 799 West Chestnut Street Washington PA 15301

Solevo Wellness – Washington 200 Adios Drive, Suite 20 Washington PA 15301

West Chester

Beyond Hello – West Chester 1261 West Chester Pike West Chester PA 19382

Wilkes-Barre

Columbia Care PA LLC – Wilkes-Barre 765 Kidder Street Wilkes-Barre PA 18702

Ethos Pennsylvania – Wilkes Barre 326 Bear Creek Commons Wilkes-Barre PA 18702

Williamsport

Keystone Center of Integrative Wellness 1490 High Street Williamsport PA 17701

York

RISE – York 4395 West Market Street York PA 17408

Organic Remedies – York 1098 Haines Road York PA 17402

Zelienople

Solevo – Jackson Pointe 22095 Perry Highway Suite 301 Zelienople PA 16063