The city of Allentown, Pennsylvania will get its first dispensary this month, and former Philadelphia Flyers player Riley Cote will be making an appearance at one of the location’s grand opening events.

Cote is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Athletes For Care. According to their website, the group advocates for “research, education, and compassion when addressing important health issues facing athletes and the public at large.”

The dispensary is called Mission Pennsylvania, and they are holding three open house events during the evenings of June 5, 6 and 7. Cote will be making his appearance on the 7th. The dispensary will present the nonprofit with a charitable donation. Mission will officially begin accepting new patients on the 12th.

Of the 41,000 Pennsylvania patients registered to be enrolled in the medical cannabis program, a disappointing 19,000 have received their medical card. This means that more than half of potentially suffering patients that registered for access to the plant medicine will continued to be denied the legal right to ingest it. State officials need to be more efficient when it comes to the approval of registered patients – many of whom have been waiting for two years to access the medication that has been scientifically proven to treat what ails them.

The medical cannabis program initially launched covering a restrictive 17 qualifying conditions, but that number has since increased to 21. The health department recently added conditions such as opioid addiction, neurodegenerative diseases and terminal illness to the list. The program has also recently been expanded to include the legal ingestion of whole plant medicine.

Since the time that democratic Governor Tom Wolf signed the bipartisan medical marijuana bill into law back in April of 2016, the market growth in Pennsylvania has been slow, but steady – both politically and professionally. The Pennsylvania Department of Health approved 26 dispensaries, and twenty have opened. Governor Wolf claims he will “do everything in his power to protect Pennsylvania patients” from facing overreaching criminal offenses or penalties at the federal level.

The Mission PA dispensary will employ six industry professionals to start, proving again that legal cannabis programs can and do lead to job creation. Mission Partners LLC owns Allentown’s first dispensary. The corporation is a subsidiary of a management-consulting firm in Phoenix called 4Front Ventures.

Hopefully, the medical cannabis program in the Keystone State will continue to expand to include the approval of more medical cards for registered patients, licenses for dispensaries, and more accepted qualifying conditions for treating conditions like depression and alcoholism.