Plan for medical pot dispensary in Mt. Airy scratched

 Mt. Airy residents attend a community meeting on Aug. 15, 2017. (Bobby Allyn/WHYY)

Mt. Airy residents attend a community meeting on Aug. 15, 2017. (Bobby Allyn/WHYY)

The company that had planned to open a dispensary for medical marijuana in Mt. Airy will look for another site after a huge outpouring of opposition from residents and elected officials representing the neighborhood.

In March, the city department of Licenses and Inspection issued a permit for TerraVida Holistic Centers to occupy a former bank building on Stenton Avenue near East Allens Lane.

But last month, Mt. Airy residents packed a zoning board meeting. Wearing stickers and waving signs, they protested placement of the facility as too close to a home day care center. They also said they feared the dispensary would attract criminals.

City Councilwoman Charelle Parker passionately criticized the proposal at that meeting.

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Christine Visco, president of Terra Vida, said Friday some in the community opposition were steeped in misconceptions.

“People aren’t going to be walking around and smoking pot in the neighborhood. It’s just the opposite,” she said. “They’re cancer patients. They’re patients suffering with epilepsy. People in chronic pain. Veterans with PTSD.”

Three other medical marijuana dispensaries are planned for Philadelphia, and Visco said she hopes she’ll be able to find a community that is more accepting of the concept.

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