Philadelphia's first-ever medical marijuana dispensary has opened its doors. Restore Integrative Wellness Center at 957 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown held its grand opening party May 2, culminating a process that began with the state law allowing cannabis to be prescribed for a list of specific conditions getting signed into law on April 27, 2016.
Principal Steve O and his wife, who declined to be named for the story, brought on Vip Patel as an angel investor and to run the day-to-day operations as chief operating officer. The three retained MPN Realty as brokers in the search for a space that could fit the specific needs of a dispensary. Restore scouted locations in Delaware, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties, where it was easier to find land, but settled on the city for its centrality.
Though the team did not have Fishtown in mind specifically, its proximity to Center City as well as an exit of Interstate 95 put it in the "Goldilocks zone," Steve O said. "I grew up here [in Philadelphia], and we knew that to serve the patient population to its highest potential, we had to be in the city," Steve O said.
Legally, a dispensary requires an indoor loading area, and practically, it requires much heavier security than a standard retail or healthcare operation. Steve O estimates 28 cameras were installed in and around the building. The former steel-welding facility at 957 Frankford, next to dance club The Barbary and across the street from the Fillmore entertainment complex, fit the bill as a one-story, 58K SF building with high enough ceilings for indoor loading.