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Goodblend is one of eight clinical registrants in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has approved a second medical marijuana dispensary for the city of Erie.

But the new dispensary, to be operated by GoodBlend Pennsylvania LLC, will operate under a slightly different model than Erie’s existing dispensary, Rise Erie, located at 2108 W. Eighth St.

Patients who eventually buy medical marijuana products at GoodBlend might have the opportunity to participate in medical research projects related to UPMC, said Nate Wardle, a spokesman with the Department of Health.

As part of a 10-year agreement, GoodBlend’s parent company, Atlanta-based Parallel, will provide UPMC with at least $3 million in unrestricted grants to be used for the study of medical marijuana, with an initial focus on treating symptoms of sickle cell disease, according to UPMC.

GoodBlend is one of eight clinical registrants in Pennsylvania, Wardle said. He said a clinical registrant holds both a medical marijuana grower/processor and a dispensary permit and is affiliated with an approved academic clinical research center.

In February of this year, the Department of Health announced that Erie-based Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine would be the research partner for CannTech PA LLC, which will operate dispensaries elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

In some cases, the local dispensary will dispense what it calls cutting edge cannabis formulations to study participants, UPMC said.

Patients of the new dispensary, however, will not be required to be enrolled in clinical research.

Briana Chester, a spokeswoman for the company, said patients need to only follow the same steps for obtaining medical marijuana from any other Pennsylvania dispensary.

Those steps including being certified by a physician to suffer from a medical condition that qualifies for medical marijuana, paying for an ID card and then purchasing from an approved dispensary.

GoodBlend, which plans to build a dispensary on Erie’s west side, is expected to create the equivalent of 24 full-time jobs, according to state Rep. Bob Merski, of Erie, D-2nd Dist.

Merski called the announcement “the best possible news.”

In most cases, prices charged by GoodBlend would likely be similar to those charged by Rise Erie or other dispensaries, Wardle said.

“That would be up to the academic clinical research (partner) if there is any difference,” he said.

There is no immediate word on when the new dispensary might open.

According to Chester, “Parallel is still in the process of finalizing the Erie property, and location details will be announced at a later date.”

Parent company Parallel calls itself “one of the fastest-growing cannabis companies in the world with operations in Florida, Texas, Nevada, and Massachusetts.”

Contact Jim Martin at jmartin@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNMartin.

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