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Medical Research Planned for Falls Site

The Falls Township Board of Supervisors set the wheels in motion for the township to become a hub for medical research.

During its Tuesday meeting, the Supervisors voted unanimously to grant preliminary and final land development approval for phase two of MLH Exploration’s medical marijuana facility. Supervisors Jeffry Dence and Brian Galloway were absent.

The company intends to construct a 49,898-square-foot addition to be used as a medical marijuana growing and processing facility. In its previous phase, MLH Exploration constructed a 225-square-foot addition to connect two existing buildings on the 32-acre parcel at 150 Solar Drive, at the former US Steele property.

MLH intends to partner with Jefferson University Health System to explore what causes the general conditions for people to respond positively via medical marijuana treatment. MLH Exploration received the necessary state approval for the project, including the ability to open six dispensaries. None of the dispensaries would be located in Falls Township, according to David Clapper, of MLH Exploration. The state does not permit growing facilities and dispensaries to be housed at the same location, he said.

Officials said previously that the MLH operation, at full build out, would mean 50 new jobs in Falls Township.

MLH Exploration’s state-of-the-art marijuana processing facility would be used to grow, process and study the medicinal benefits of state-licensed medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana would be processed into oils, gel caps and pills as permitted under the state’s Medical Marijuana Act. The site will not be open to the retail public.

Following Falls Township’s local ordinance, which governs medical marijuana grower and dispensary operations, the facility would be secured with a fenced-in area and steel sides up to 12 feet tall. Cameras would be in place and running continuously, according to MLH representatives. Access would be permitted only through electronic devices and access codes would be required.

The US Steel site was viewed as a great location because of its excess space for future expansion, as well as existing power and utilities. Officials said the facilities would increase the green space and thereby reduce the amount of impervious surface, which could help to lessen flooding for neighboring flood-prone areas.

Falls Supervisors have previously set regulations for the production and distribution of medical marijuana and outlined where operations could be located, namely in the highway commercial; materials processing and manufacturing; and farming and mining districts. Operations are not allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, park, daycare center, community center or worship site.

Under the local ordinance, the medical marijuana grower and dispensary are required to “operate entirely within an indoor, enclosed, and secure facility” and provide a security plan specifying the type of 24-hour security, as well as tracking, recordkeeping, record retention and surveillance.

Hours of operation for both growers and dispensers would be limited to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Exterior sales and sidewalk displays would be forbidden. Drive-through services would not be permitted. Minors would not be permitted inside unless accompanied by a caregiver.

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