A political storm is brewing in the City of Brotherly Love over the location of a medical marijuana dispensary. A cadre of state and local politicians have rallied together in an attempt to stop the opening of TerraVida Holistic Centers, a Philadelphia medical marijuana dispensary, as reported by Philly.com.
Earlier in the year, TerraVida was granted a zoning permit to operate in the East Mount Airy neighborhood and was one of only four medical marijuana dispensaries given a permit to operate within the city.
Although the dispensary is located on commercially zoned property and does not violate any buffer zone rules, opponents like Councilwoman Cindy Bass believe TerraVida does not belong because the neighborhood is primarily a residential and worry about its effect on the community.
“What is new is also unknown,” Bass said, as quoted by Philly.com. “Will it attract unwanted elements to a neighborhood? How could having a drug dispensary in a residential community exacerbate crime, traffic, litter, and blight? These are all questions I have posed, along with my Mount Airy constituents.”
While there have been few comprehensive studies that study medical marijuana dispensaries and their effect on crime, one recent study did find a relationship between the closure of medical marijuana dispensaries and an increase in petty crime, such as theft.
A zoning hearing was held on Aug. 15, but the Philadelphia medical marijuana dispensary issue was not resolved so the hearing will continue on Sept. 19, as reported by NBC10 Philadelphia.