Medical marijuana in State College: Dispensary updates, openings

Changes are coming to Centre County’s medical marijuana dispensaries.

The county’s landscape in the medical marijuana community completely shifted since October, when it boasted just a single dispensary. After a company takeover, the dispensary is currently undergoing rebranding, while another opened last month. A third recently updated its timeline to allow for a grand opening.

All of them are located in the State College area along Atherton Street.

Here’s a closer look at all the changes:

New dispensary and new timeline

HomeDThe former Home D Pizzeria at South Atherton Street should reopen next year as a Verilife State College medical cannabis dispensary. Abby Drey Centre Daily Times, file

Home D Pizzeria (1820 S. Atherton St.) closed its doors last June after announcing a future tenant — which initially anticipated leasing only the back portion of the restaurant — instead needed to lease the entire building.

The tenant turned out not to be PharmaCannVerilife dispensaries is owned by,

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A spokesperson from PharmaCann informed the CDT in December, that the new State College dispensary would open by the end March. A spokesperson stated that the new State College dispensary will open in April.

“We are now working to schedule the final state and local inspections and approvals, and expect our Verilife State College dispensary to begin serving patients by the end of April,” said Brandon Nemec, PharmaCann’s government and regulatory affairs associate director. “We are excited to bring a full suite of product choices and additional patient access to the greater Centre County region as soon as authorized by regulators, and join the State College retail business community.”

Verilife is available in half-a dozen states. There are seven locations in Pennsylvania that offer Verilife’s services, with the nearest being Williamsport. It offers a price-match guarantee for identical in-stock items purchased from other state dispensaries.

Rebranding and changes

NaturesMedicine 2 Nature’s Medicines, a medical marijuana dispensary that first opened in 2018, changed ownership in the fall and will be rebranded to Ayr Wellness State College. This dispensary will be among many other changes in Centre County. Abby Drey Centre Daily Times, file

Nature’s Medicines became the county’s first medical marijuana dispensary after opening in June 2018 at 2105 N. Atherton St. It was purchased by the CDC in October 2018. Ayr WellnessAs part of a 3-dispensary deal, which included Initial consideration of $80,000,000.

Customers might’ve noticed some incremental changes since that time, but Ayr Wellness announced it would quicken its transition this month. New signage will be displayed in the coming weeks promoting the location. “Ayr Wellness State College.”

“Sometimes, you see with dispensaries an overnight change; someone purchases them and they just turn it on. That’s not the approach we wanted to take,” said Julie Winter, Ayr Wellness’ vice president of retail operations. “We wanted to make sure that the dispensary technicians and the leadership team really understood who Ayr is and how we operate, get some of our technology integrated and then start to talk to the patients who have come to know and love Nature’s Medicines.”

Customers may notice the most significant changes when they have access to a Loyalty rewards programThese products are exclusive to the Ayr label. The vertically-integrated company produces several cannabis products — such as Revel, Seven Hills (what it terms “craft marijuana”) and Origyn concentrate/vape — and some strains are exclusive to Ayr Wellness while others will first show up at Ayr dispensaries before being sold elsewhere.

“It’s going to be a new look and feel in terms of the signage,”Winter was added “but the people will be the same.”

Ayr Wellness is available in seven states and has eight dispensaries located in Pennsylvania.

Recently opened

Curaleaf.JPGCuraleaf is a medical marijuana dispensary that was opened last month at 1248 S. Atherton St. The first day of operation was February 19. Abby Drey Centre Daily Times, file

Curaleaf State College officially became the county’s second dispensary when it opened last month on Feb. 19. It’s located at 1248 S. Atherton St., the former site of a Citizens Bank.

The dispensary currently offers a “Get to Know Curaleaf” special that includes discounts on patients’ first three visits — 20% off the first visit, 25% off the second and 30% off the third. Curaleaf offers several of its own products (e.g. Curaleaf offers a variety of products (e.g., Grassroots flower and Curaleaf-branded items as well as Select Cannabis oil) along with a loyalty rewards program.

The company has 128 dispensaries and 26 cultivation locations across the country. Curaleaf State College is the company’s 15th location in the commonwealth; the closest Curaleaf dispensary to Centre County was previously in Altoona.

Josh Moyer earned his B.A. His B.A. in journalism from Penn State, and his M.S. Columbia. He’s been involved in sports and news writing for nearly 20 years. He counts the best athlete he’s ever seen as Tecmo Super Bowl’s Bo Jackson.

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