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Greensburg marijuana dispensary not yet open but under new management

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A medical marijuana dispensary under construction on East Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2018.
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A billboard advetising a new medical marijuana dispensary coming to Greensburg.

Greensburg’s planned medical marijuana dispensary is under new management, although it remains under construction and nine months behind schedule.

Solevo Wellness representatives told city officials the dispensary will open in December, according to Barbara Ciampini, city planning director.

Solevo owns and operates dispensaries in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood and Cranberry Township. It’s taking over management of the Greensburg facility on East Pittsburgh Street from original proprietor Keystone Integrated Care, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

However, Keystone Integrated Care still owns the dispensary. The company struck a management agreement with Solevo, which was approved by the health department.

Representatives from Solevo and Keystone did not return calls seeking comment.

It remains unclear how the arrangement will work. Most of the information about Keystone’s financial backers has been redacted from its permit application released by the state.

Thomas Perko, Keystone Integrated Care founder and chief operating officer, could not be reached for comment.

The company’s permit application listed a host of industry experts who were expected to run the company, including CEO Brooke Gehring, who runs a successful Colorado marijuana business. It is unknown whether these people are still involved.

Also unknown is how the management agreement will affect Keystone’s planned satellite dispensaries in Cranberry and Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

A marijuana company cannot transfer its state-issued dispensary permit, but it can bring in another company to manage the dispensary as long as the health department approves, according to April Hutcheson, a state health department spokeswoman.

A couple of such agreements already have been made, Hutcheson said. They may become more common as the state’s medical marijuana program expands and new dispensaries seek help from established experts.

“As (the program) continues to grow, you may see more of this type of agreement happening,” she said.

Keystone received its state permit in June 2017 and site approval from Greensburg officials in September that year. It was originally slated to open in early 2018, coinciding with the official start of the state’s medical marijuana program.

However, construction never started. Keystone officials said the facility proposed by their developers was too expensive for them to build.

They came back to city officials in March with a revised, smaller building proposal, this time predicting an August opening.

Construction was delayed again. Perko said it was because the company had trouble finding contractors. The expected opening date was pushed to November.

It is now scheduled to open in December, with Solevo in charge.

“This project was full of crazy twists and turns. But after all the drama, the grand opening is slated for next month,” Ciampini said via email.

Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter @Soolseem.

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