Herbology will open its doors to South Philly residents later this summer.
Tucked between the Italian Market and Asian grocery stores, a new pioneer is settling just south of Washington Avenue on East Passyunk.
An alternative approach to both business and healing, Herbology will be one of the first medicinal cannabis dispensaries in the city since Gov. Wolf legalized medical use of the plant in April 2016.
Herbology, the east coast subdivision of Grassroots Cannabis, an Illinois-based grower and processor with locations across the country, is scheduled to open its South Philly doors in late August or early September at 1125–1127 East Passyunk Avenue.
The “vertically integrated company,” meaning its operation spans from seeds to selling, will vend a plethora of marijuana-based products, including topical treatments and oils, to patients who have been medically cleared by a doctor registered with the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program.
Patients, who must suffer from at least one of more than 20 state-established qualifying conditions, such as epilepsy and even autism, will also receive free access to various holistic services, including meditation, yoga and PTSD support groups that will be hosted above the Passyunk dispensary — an area that was zoned for medicinal marijuana sales by the state, according to Mahja Sulemanjee, director for community outreach for Herbology.
“It’s such a prime location there,” Sulemanjee said. “It’s really the heart of that South Philly area, and I think we are lucky to have that area for where we’re going to be able to operate.”
Nestled in the hub of several business districts, Herbology hopes to not only bring symptom alleviation to South Philly but also employment.
According to a 2017 study from New Frontier Data, more than a quarter of a million United State jobs will be created in the legal cannabis market by 2020.
Sulemanjee says during the planning process, local council people and state representatives expressed curiosity about Herbology’s impact on the economy of the immediate area.
“(The officials) were very, very interested in how many jobs we can bring to town and what we’re able to do from that regard,” she said. “We are going to hire from within that community. The closer they are, the better for our dispensary staff and for our patients. That way they know they’re getting somebody who lives in town who has a direct connection to that area — to have a social responsibility.”
All of the dispensary products will derive from crops grown on Pennsylvania farms and cultivations, further boosting regional employment opportunities.
Aside from approaching local government, another crucial crowd to consult was the local registered community organizations, including the Passyunk Square Civic Association, which concentrates on the welfare of Broad to 6th streets and Washington Avenue to Tasker Street, which encompasses the Herbology property.
Sarah Anton, president of the association, says members of the business began communicating with Passyunk Square in the early summer.
“They reached out as a neighborly introduction to their business — obviously a kind of business that folks would be unfamiliar with,” Anton said. “They wanted to make sure to let us know they were available to answer questions or concerns any neighbors might have.”
At one of its upcoming general meetings this fall, the civic association plans to host representatives of the business for a presentation and discussion on Herbology.
Sulemanjee stressed that, when approaching any new community, education is key, as she describes it as the most important part in how people consume cannabis today. Herbology aims to enlighten, such as clarifying the misconception that patients will inevitably receive head highs from every product, which is false, as the dispensary itself can change THC levels based on an individual’s conditions.
Along with attending civic association meetings, Herbology has a designated booth at every East Passyunk farmers market, which is hosted every Wednesday through November from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Singing Fountain.
“(The civic association) really was somebody who could be very impactful in understanding” Sulemanjee said. “And because they play such a big role in that area — we want to make sure that they, by all means, have all of their questions answered … if they have questions, they know there’s a trusted partner in the cannabis industry that they can call and ask questions to.”
Both Anton and Sulemanjee say, as of now, they haven’t witnessed or received any pushback from residents of the immediate area regarding the opening of Herbology.
While the increase of crime can be a concern, the South Philly business will be equipped with a slew of security measures, including bulletproof windows and 360-degree security cameras on the inside and outside of the premise. Individuals who aren’t registered patients with the state must sign in and have copies of their ID made before even entering the store.
Both as a local resident and member of the civic association, Anton is positive about Herbology’s presence on Passyunk.
“We’re always happy to welcome new businesses to our neighborhood,” she said. “It seems like, from all indications, the way they reached out to the neighborhood association, it seems like they’re going to be a good new business.”
“Truth be told, the open mindedness that we’ve been accepted and really been welcome with — it’s been unbelievable,” Sulemanjee said “So, when you have a market like that that welcomes you in, we are even more excited to participate in it.”
To learn more about Herbology, visit www.herbology dispensary.com.
To learn about the registration process visit, https://www.herbologydispensary.com/how-to-qualify-in-pennsylvania/
To register for the state’s program visit, www.pa.gov/guides/pennsylvania-medical-marijuana-program/