CEO of midstate medical marijuana grower looks ahead

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Jun 26, 2017 6:28 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Twelve newly-permitted medical marijuana growers are now gearing up to start operations in Pennsylvania.

Franklin Labs in Reading is one of them.

CEO John Pohlhaus says his company's bid to become a grower/processor gained an edge over other applicants because of the blend of Pennsylvania and out-of-state representatives working together. Governor Tom Wolf's former Secretary of Policy and Planning John Hanger chairs Franklin Labs' board. The company also partnered with Canna Pharmacy, which has a track record of successful applications to grow medical marijuana in Colorado, Delaware, and New Jersey.

Pohlhaus says he doesn't believe Pennsylvania's strict regulations will affect business, but he recognizes success will hinge on doctor participation.

"The key to everything is physician participation, because there's no market without physician education and acknowledgment of participating in a program," he says.

Franklin Labs will spend the next six months finalizing and implementing construction plans and accepting job applications for security guards, chemists, agricultural workers, and administrative positions.

Up to 30 people are expected to be hired. Pohlhaus says the company plans to rely mainly on automation.

"The science behind cannabis production is getting more and more advanced every year, so in order to become competitive for the future, automation is really important," he says.

Franklin Labs has also applied to operate dispensaries in Pennsylvania's southeast region. Pohlhaus says if that bid is successful, they will need to hire sales people, pharmacists, and additional security personnel.

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