Northumberland County is soon to join Montour and Snyder counties in the medical marijuana business. Within the next three months, Parea Biosciences expects to have a grower/operator facility up and running after completing the purchase of county-owned land in Coal Township.

It means more money and more jobs coming into the area and, eventually, relief for patients approved for the program. 

For $1.5 million, Parea has purchased 10 acres of property near the new county prison in Coal Township. Co-owner Krista Krebs says she expects the facility to create 45 new jobs within the first year and 120 once fully operational.

Getting to this point has been frustrating for many. There were five extensions throughout the purchase process. County Commissioners Rick Shoch and Sam Schiccitano initially approved the option for the sale of the land in May 2018, pending statewide approval of a license that followed two months later.

“This has been a longer journey than anyone expected, but the patience of the county was a real boon to the process,” Krebs said. “Even before the town hall meeting over a year ago, they saw both the immediate and long-term windfalls that we felt our venture represented to the residents of Northumberland County and to Pennsylvania residents in need of the medicinal products we aim to create.”

Parea doesn’t have to look far to find a successful grower in the Valley. Green Thumb Industries has been up and running for nearly two years in Montour County and recently announced an expansion of its facility. A state-approved facility in Snyder County, at the former Sunbury Generation site, was approved the same time as Parea, but hasn’t started growing.

The Valley has one dispensary where cardholders who have one of 23 conditions approved for medical marijuana can get their prescriptions filled. Currently, Nature’s Medicines in Hummels Wharf is operational; there is also a Nature’s Medicine site in Bloomsburg. Other dispensaries approved for Shamokin have not opened and one provider had a state-approved license revoked.

Still, having the new site closer to reality is a good thing for the Valley. 

“We cannot thank the county and its residents enough for that,” Krebs said. “We hope to continue to repay that faith in the months and years to come.” 

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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