A historic firehouse in Pennsylvania will soon become a medical marijuana dispensary, scheduled to open in Harrisburg on June 18 as Harvest of South Central PA. The new medicinal marijuana retailer is a part of Harvest Health and Recreation, a vertically integrated cannabis firm based in Tempe, Arizona.
The new dispensary location is the former home of the Camp Curtin Fire Station, which was judged to be obsolete by the city in 1981. The building was then placed on the National Register of Historic Places the same year. Until March, the former fire station was occupied by the Camp Curtin Bar-B-Que Station, which was in business at the site for 30 years until it was closed to make room for Harvest of South Central PA. The company secured a license to operate a medical cannabis dispensary at the location earlier this year.
Renovation Restores Historic Building
Harvest performed extensive renovations on the building to get the site ready to open as a medical marijuana dispensary. Historic elements of the structure, including the facade of the fire station and a bell tower that was in danger of collapsing, were preserved during the rehabilitation.
David Morrison, the executive director of the Historic Harrisburg Association, told local media that he was pleased that Harvest had preserved the bell tower. Although the property is a registered historic place, it does not enjoy any protections to maintain its original character.
“It looks like they’re doing a wonderful job,” Morrison said. “It’s great for the neighborhood. It lifts the neighborhood up.”
He added that a new business operating in the location is the best way to keep the building maintained and in good condition. Located in an economically depressed part of the city, the former firehouse would likely not be a desirable site for many other businesses.
Harvest Health and Recreation Permit Controversary
In April, Harvest Health and Recreation raised eyebrows among the cannabis industry and regulators when it announced that it had secured seven medical marijuana permits in Pennsylvania, allowing it to operate up to 21 dispensaries in the state. Under Department of Health regulations, a single company is prohibited from holding more than five permits allowing the operation of up to 15 retail shops. Following the announcement, the health department asked Harvest to produce records detailing information about the ownership of the permits. According to media reports, the company had created seven different firms with separate ownership groups to obtain dispensary licenses in Pennsylvania. Results of the inquiry have not yet been made public.
A health department spokeswoman said on Friday that the “matter involves an ongoing legal process. Once it is resolved we can provide more information.”