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In Lawrence County, a startup prepares to grow legal medical marijuana


One hundred feet below pure limestone in Lawrence County, Thomas Perko and Russ Cersosimo Jr. are preparing to grow medical marijuana for the Pennsylvania market. While people in other parts of the world already have access to distillate thc, here the state of things are a little different. Slowly but surely, however, progress is being made.

The debate of legalizing marijuana has been ongoing for decades and now, the debate is swinging towards pro-legalization. Companies like hyfe are hugely popular in the states that have completely legalized marijuana, there is an increasing amount of evidence for medical cannabis, and there’s a growing amount of support from the public. It has proved to soothe so many different conditions and alleviate many different symptoms. It is also versatile and adaptable to meaning it can be taken in many forms, such as this deep relief gel for one example. This support has allowed Perko and Cersosimo to develop this site. The site is highly secure, pest-free, and can be scaled to the equivalent of more than 22 acres.

Now the co-founders of Keystone Organic Farms just have to wait for Pennsylvania to legalize medical cannabis — which Perko says is more likely than ever.

“We started reaching out to various stakeholders in the Commonwealth of PA when the language of a bill had a chance of both bipartisan and bicameral support,” he says. “Our politicians have done some serious research since…2014. Education is powerful and we believe that the tipping point has been reached. The past year has given them time to educate themselves and it has really paid off. They are now fully aware that this is something that heals people and that there is now proven research behind it, not just anecdotal evidence.”

Once enacted, Pennsylvania can learn from the experience of 23 states and the District of Columbia in fast and efficient implementation. The subterranean farm can be operational within 90 days of licensure. People may also wish to acquire various smoking products from an online headshop or elsewhere after the farm is up and running in order to get the most out of the marijuana they brought.

For now, Keystone is actively gearing up. The company is working with other Pennsylvania companies to perfect the necessary LED lighting technology and custom compound sustainable soil solutions.

“Our initial feasibility analysis included architects and engineers for space-program requirement planning, as well as a sharp focus on all of the integrated systems and design to take into consideration when planning for mid- and long-term scalability,” adds Perko.

A lot will depend on the specifics of any final bill, but Perko anticipates that Keystone can raise somewhere between $10 and $15 million in capital; create 25 to 45 jobs in growing, processing and dispensing; and serve as many as 12,500 customers by 2017.

Source: Tom Perko, Keystone Organic Farms
Writer: Elise Vider

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