The seed is planted, the state's medical marijuana industry soon will sprout, and if all goes well for McKeesport, PurePenn LLC will grow into solid stalk for the upstart industry.

Plant metaphors aside, owners of Downtown-based PurePenn said their team has expertise, among other important advantages, in the medical marijuana business in other states.

They also said they have access to a genetic library of hundreds of cannabis strains to produce high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis-oil products. They also have plans to help other processing and distribution facilities statewide, once permits are awarded by the state Department of Health. Awarding permits for 12 processing and distribution facilities and up to 27 dispensaries likely won't occur until late June, at the earliest, state officials said.

PurePenn officials said state regulations are among the best in the nation, based on rules for production, distribution and sales, all with a strong patient focus.

PurePenn CEO Gabriel Perlow said his company will submit, by Monday's deadline, its 2,000-page application that's rife with detail about its plans to grow and process thousands of marijuana plants. The result will be pharmaceutical-grade, cannabis-based treatments in the form of capsules, ointments, tinctures and vaporizing oils, among others, for distribution statewide.

It already has zoning approval in the RIDC Industrial Center of McKeesport to build a facility, initially to be 21,000 square feet, on 5 acres with an option for 5 additional acres.

He said the company "will spend in excess of six figures to complete the project and to maintain reserves throughout the first year of operations," with expectations of a gradual buildup of product demand as more patients qualify to purchase the products.

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