Local civic group approves plans for NE marijuana facility

Hear­ing a power­ful testi­mo­ni­al about Fly­ers founder and chair­man Ed Snider’s use of med­ic­al marijuana, mem­bers of the Park­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation un­an­im­ously en­dorsed a plan by two of his chil­dren and his grand­child to build a 125,000-square-foot med­ic­al marijuana grow­ing and pro­cessing plant in the Far North­east.

In the wan­ing days of his life, Fly­ers founder and chair­man Ed Snider sought pain re­lief from weed.

Near­ing the end of his long battle with can­cer, Snider wasn’t get­ting the re­lief he needed or de­served from con­ven­tion­al med­ic­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to his daugh­ter, her­self a can­cer sur­viv­or.

“He was tak­ing enough opioids to kill an ele­phant,” Lindy Snider told about 100 Park­wood res­id­ents dur­ing a com­munity meet­ing on Wed­nes­day night. “It made him stop eat­ing. It made him loopy. And it was a ter­rible way to live out his life.”

One day, the fam­ily con­vinced him to try an al­tern­at­ive treat­ment for his symp­toms — med­ic­al marijuana. The drug helped al­le­vi­ate his pain and gastrointest­in­al prob­lems and im­proved his frame of mind, Lindy said. Ed Snider passed away last April 11. He was 83.

Hear­ing that power­ful testi­mo­ni­al, mem­bers of the Park­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation un­an­im­ously en­dorsed a plan by two of Snider’s chil­dren and his grand­child to build a 125,000-square-foot med­ic­al marijuana grow­ing and pro­cessing plant in the Far North­east.

As first re­por­ted by the North­east Times in ad­vance of the com­munity meet­ing, the Sniders plan to ap­ply for one of 12 grow­er-pro­cessor or “GP” li­censes that may be is­sued by the Pennsylvania De­part­ment of Health un­der the state’s Med­ic­al Marijuana Act, en­acted last year. Two of those li­censes may be is­sued in the state’s south­east re­gion.

Lindy Snider and rep­res­ent­at­ives for her com­pany, Snider Health, said they want to build their fa­cil­ity in Phil­adelphia to ex­tend the fam­ily’s long­stand­ing com­mit­ment to the city. They pro­pose to build the plant on a 14-acre, wooded, in­dus­tri­al-zoned par­cel at 14515 McN­ulty Road. It’s at the end of a cul-de-sac in the By­berry East In­dus­tri­al Park. The Phil­adelphia Au­thor­ity for In­dus­tri­al De­vel­op­ment owns the land.

Snider Health must sub­mit an ap­plic­a­tion to the De­part­ment of Health by March 20. Li­censes may be awar­ded this sum­mer. The state will ex­pect li­censees to “hit the ground run­ning” and be op­er­a­tion­al with­in six months, Lindy Snider said.

Lindy’s broth­er and former Fly­ers pres­id­ent Jay Snider is a co-founder of Snider Health, as is Jay’s son Jam­ie. Can­cer has hit the fam­ily hard. In 2014, the dis­ease claimed the life of Jay and Lindy’s moth­er Myrna, who was 78.

In 2015, Lindy told the In­quirer that she first began in­vest­ig­at­ing the pos­sib­il­it­ies of med­ic­al marijuana to help her ail­ing moth­er when clin­ic­ally proven paink­illers didn’t seem to al­le­vi­ate her pain. Can­nabis helped Myrna Snider sleep, Lindy said.

Lindy then foun­ded a com­pany that pro­duces skin­care products for can­cer pa­tients. She wanted to de­term­ine if can­nabis-based skin ap­plic­a­tions could prove be­ne­fi­cial.

Dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing, Park­wood res­id­ents asked Lindy Snider and rep­res­ent­at­ives for Snider Health about the marijuana busi­ness’ po­ten­tial im­pact on the com­munity. City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill, whose 10th dis­trict in­cludes the pro­posed site, began the meet­ing by en­dors­ing the pro­pos­al.

“It’s not low-risk. There’s no risk at all. I’m very com­fort­able with it,” O’Neill said.

The com­pany would grow and pro­cess marijuana on site, ex­tract­ing its medi­cin­al prop­er­ties and con­vert­ing them in­to pill or li­quid form. Un­der state law, grow­er-pro­cessors can­not sell marijuana in plant form and can­not sell any products dir­ectly to con­sumers. GPs may only mar­ket to oth­er GPs or li­censed dis­pens­ar­ies.

Lindy Snider said that most of the McN­ulty Road fa­cil­ity would be set up as a green­house, with pro­cessing op­er­a­tions also con­tained there. The fa­cil­ity would op­er­ate un­der state-man­dated se­cur­ity, product la­beling and de­liv­ery guidelines.

Snider Health would part­ner with an 18-year-old Col­or­ado firm, The Clin­ic, to op­er­ate the fa­cil­ity.

It would op­er­ate sev­en days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and em­ploy 40 to 50 people on site. There would be two de­liv­ery vans leav­ing the prop­erty daily.

“They’re de­cent-pay­ing jobs. Forty to fifty jobs is noth­ing to laugh at,” O’Neill said. Se­cur­ity will be “like Fort Knox.”

The busi­ness would need no city zon­ing ap­provals be­cause the land is already zoned for in­dus­tri­al use. The Phil­adelphia In­dus­tri­al De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion has been act­ively mar­ket­ing the land to busi­nesses for years.

One res­id­ent asked com­pany of­fi­cials why they want to clear wooded land for a new build­ing rather than tak­ing over an ex­ist­ing, un­oc­cu­pied build­ing else­where. Lindy Snider said it would be dif­fi­cult to ret­ro­fit an ex­ist­ing build­ing for the com­pany’s spe­cif­ic use. They don’t plan to use the en­tire 14-acre par­cel and would build the fa­cil­ity in phases over time. The com­pany in­tends to use uni­on labor for con­struc­tion.

An­oth­er neigh­bor asked about po­ten­tial harm­ful byproducts from the pro­cess. Lindy Snider said that it’s an or­gan­ic pro­cess and she’s un­aware of any con­tam­in­ants. The plants would be grown in pots or isol­ated beds. They would not be planted in the ground. The pro­cess would leave be­hind a plant-based pulp. Snider said the com­pany in­tends to em­ploy green tech­no­logy to max­im­ize the site’s en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and re­duce costs.

“We’re ex­cited about the pos­sib­il­ity of do­ing a green­house here,” she said. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus