SHAMOKIN — Parea BioSciences LLC, which was awarded a growing/processor license to operate a facility near the Northumberland County Jail, might be interested in opening a corporate office in the city.
Administrator Robert Slaby said Friday that a representative from Parea reached out to the city about six months ago during the application process for Phase II of the state’s medical marijuana program to inquire if there was any city-owned property available.
Slaby told Parea at the time that the bottom floor of the two-story tax office at 51 E. Lincoln St., next to City Hall, was vacant and that council might be interested in discussing the matter.
Slaby said Friday he intends to speak to Parea to follow up on the possibility, adding that an agreement between the city and Parea has not been drafted.
“We are delighted over the fact that we may be able to house their operations next to City Hall,” Slaby said.
If an agreement is reached, Parea would occupy both floors of the tax office. Treasurer and tax collector Brenda Scandle would move her operations to City Hall, where it had been located some years ago, Slaby noted.
Parea’s desire to bring a corporate office to Shamokin was referenced in a meeting before county commissioners in May.
It was also noted in a letter dated May 14 sent by a city official to Krista Krebs, CEO of Parea, thanking the Carlisle-based firm for its desire to revitalize the Shamokin area. The name of the city official was redacted by the state Department of Health (DOH) when it was submitted as part of Parea’s application for a growing license.
The letter states that Parea’s business plan will create skilled, livable-wage jobs available to area residents who “desperately” need them. It continues that city officials recognize significant tax and revenue base potential that a medical marijuana facility and corporate headquarters would provide.
“As a Act 47 municipality, it is imperative for the city to contribute to the financial recovery plan implemented by the commonwealth to avoid the risk of future municipality disincorporation,” the letter says in reference to the state’s program for fiscally distressed municipalities. “Placing a medical marijuana facility in the Shamokin area will attract the innovative minds of future graduates eager to enter this new industry. The City of Shamokin enthusiastically welcomes the migration of skill to this area as a population would help spur additional development to this region.”
Parea also submitted as part of its application letters of support from Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108), the Northumberland County Commissioners office, Northumberland County Department of Economic Development and Planning, and others.
Messages left Friday for Krista Krebs, CEO of Parea, were not returned.
There were nine grower/processor applicants in Region 4, the Northcentral Region. Four of those were targeted for Northumberland County, two each for Snyder and Centre counties and one in Clinton County.
The DOH issued two permits for each region and one for the highest-scoring application without regard to the region. The DOH scored grower applications in 21 categories, such as operational timeline, inventory management, growing practice, business history and personal identification, with a maximum point total of either 25, 50, 75 or 100 points for a grand total of 1,000 points. Letters of support did not affect scores.
Parea scored the highest in the region with 698.75, followed by INSA LLC, which will be located in the Sunbury industrial park near the Panda Hummel Station plant in Shamokin Dam, with a score of 688.75. PharmaCann Penn Plant LLC, which proposed a facility at Lot 6 along Industrial Park Road in Coal Township, scored 693.5, but will instead operate a facility in Olyphant, Lackawanna County.
PharmaCann and Harvest of North Central PA LLC were awarded dispensary permits in December. PharmaCann, of 235 W. Spruce St., and Harvest of North Central PA LLC, of 520 N. Shamokin St., both of Shamokin, were the only two awarded in the northcentral region during Phase II.
Parea stated in its application that its assembled executive team members has a combined 325 years of business experience, with 120-plus years engaged in medical marijuana programs. Additional officers are Mary Pat Julias, CFO; Michael Cranga, chief security officer; J.J. Chamberlain, director of processing; Benjamin Horner, director of cultivation; Kathleen Dunkelberger, director of patient, community and government outreach; Mieko Perez, patient advocacy adviser; Debra A. Van Meter-Altland, chief compliance officer; Umamaheswar Siripurapu, senior adviser; and Dr. Joseph J. Morgan and Dr. Marshalee George, medical advisory team.
Parea scored 62 out of 100 points for “community impact.” The DOH redacted the firm’s summary of how it will have a positive impact on the community, job creation, community impact approach, future economic development and track record of giving back to their communities, patients and employees.
During an information meeting on Oct. 23, Parea representatives said the company wanted to “boost economic development while making a positive impact in the community” and that there was a potential to partner with trade schools, high schools, colleges and health care facilities in the area to further enhance the benefits of having a medical marijuana facility in Coal Township.
Not selected in Phase II in the Northcentral Region were Shamokin-Coal Township Greenery Inc., which proposed a grow facility in the former Kmart building in Coal Township, and Power Plant Medicinal (PPM), a company associated with Mount Carmel Cogeneration Inc., Marion Heights, which re-applied after not being selected in Phase I.
Greenery, headed by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic as principal, scored 443.75 points. The corporation scored less than 50 percent in all but four categories and only managed to score 16 out of 100 points in its diversity plan.
An addition to Gembic, officers listed include Tehani Shingara, CEO; Erin Phillips, COO; Victor Northern, CFO; and Bethany Niebauer, CCO.
PPM, based in Pittston, was given a score of 643.5, a 16.5-point decrease from its Phase 1 application score. Officers are Kenneth Pollock, trustee and director; Marion Pollock, CEO; Connie Pollock Rado, secretary; Megan Millo, COO; and Kevin Hogan, CFO.