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Philadelphia’s 12th medical marijuana dispensary opened this week, a milestone that comes two years after the first store opened in Fishtown in 2018.
The latest addition is Sunnyside, the retail end of Chicago-based Cresco Labs, with a 5,500-square-foot dispensary at 12th and Chestnut. While local advocates for marijuana access say more dispensaries are good, they also point to a growing disparity.
Dispensaries are not spread evenly throughout the city — a reality driven by zoning regulations that dictate where dispensaries can open, as well as where business owners choose to invest, officials and advocates say.
“There’s an equity issue,” said Tony Payton Jr., a marijuana lobbyist in Pennsylvania who’s also a certified grower out of state.
Pennsylvania is one of 36 states that have at least partially approved the sale of marijuana, making it part of the nation’s nearly $18 billion legal cannabis industry. While Pa. requires a medical prescription, more and more states — including neighboring New Jersey and New York — are now moving to full legalization of adult use.
Philadelphia’s dispensary growth has lagged