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Medical Marijuana Delayed As Operators Try To Overcome Roadblocks

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It's seen as relief for sufferers of 17 different medical conditions, including cancer and Crohn's disease, but to date, only two facilities in Pennsylvania have actually started growing medical marijuana.

The dispensary under renovation in Squirrel Hill appears to be one of the few that will be ready to distribute when the product becomes available.

"It's tough. There's rules that you've never had before. Things I never experienced," said Sam Britz, of Solevo Wellness.

Federal laws still prohibits the sale of marijuana, which makes getting financing difficult. Also, the state Health Department has tough regulations of its own.

Britz says he expects Solevo Wellness to be dispensing medical marijuana in February, and will likely be the first in the region to do so.

"We're definitely ahead of the pack," he said.

While grower-distributor Cresco Yeltrah is converting a building into a dispensary in the Strip District, others, like Maitri Medicinals, have hit snags.

They were supposed to open in a building in Oakland, but problems have forced them to find another site, and Brtiz believes that just a handful of dispensaries will be operational by spring.

"There's going to be a few that have been able to navigate all of the hurdles to be operational that soon," Britz said.

Dispensaries can't open until they have product to dispense.

PurePenn needed to excavate three feet of concrete and get electrical power to its site in McKeesport, but plans to be growing in cubicles by the end of the month, with product ready at the end of march.

"Love to see people be able to get the relief they seek much faster, but again, we're not going to rush our process to put a sub-standard medication on the market."

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