Could medical marijuana be the Mon Valley’s new steel? If PurePenn CEO Gabe Perlow receives approval from the state in June, his company could be one of the region’s first medical cannabis processing facilities. Pennsylvania passed its Act 16 medical cannabis law last April, and in February, McKeesport approved PurePenn’s proposal to transform a vacant industrial site into a facility for producing pharmaceutical-grade capsules, ointments, tinctures and oils. Inspired by family and friends’ health struggles, Perlow—a lawyer from Squirrel Hill—established PurePenn in 2016 as a patient-centered company that delivers safe and effective therapeutic cannabis products to relieve pain, nausea, anxiety and other serious medical conditions.
Monday, April 10
No Monday morning is complete without a jolt of good coffee. On my way to our office in the Grant Building, I’ll stop at Market Street Grocery for their La Colombe coffee that’s brought in through the Port of Philadelphia—nothing like it.
Today I’ll meet with architects from Graves Design Group for our building at RIDC Industrial Center of McKeesport. We’re doing a lot to prepare our operation while our application is under review—we want to have the ability to move swiftly to impact job creation.
We’re meeting at one of my favorite places, Elevation, in the Embassy Suites on the top floor of the Oliver Building, Downtown. The views are unbelievable and Chef Gary makes everything in house—even the bun for the hamburger, my personal favorite.
Tuesday, April 11
After I drop my daughter off at school, I’m heading to McKeesport to meet with Gina Rosso, our community liaison. Mayor Michael Cherepko and residents have been extremely supportive and it’s important that we continually explain the facts about Act 16. Pennsylvania lawmakers were very rigorous in ensuring the law focuses on putting patients first: it allows the use of medicinal cannabis products to treat 17 serious medical conditions.
Later I’ll meet with my partner, Jordan Lams, CEO and co-founder of Moxie, which processes and distributes cannabis oil products. His company has received numerous industry awards for the quality of its products, especially for products containing the non-psychoactive cannabinoid called cannabidiol. In addition to a consistent, reliable product, we were drawn to Moxie’s culture, which is rooted in community and social good. A portion of our revenue will fund community projects in McKeesport.
We’ll head to PNC Park for the Bucs-Reds game—hope the rain holds off!
Wednesday, April 12
I want to get my workout in before I start my day, so I’ll stop first at the Rivers Club.
I’m working on presentations to the Lions Club and other McKeesport community groups—everyone there has been so welcoming of PurePenn. Our company was founded with a community-first mission, and the best way to understand the needs and concerns of the community is through these types of interactions.
Thursday, April 13
My partners and I will go over our budget and business projections for the first year. We’re studying other markets to see which cannabis products are the most well received by patients.
I will also return phone calls to local patients who have reached out to PurePenn. I want to familiarize myself with their needs and concerns. Some of them truly struggle with their ailments—but it’s heartening to know that our products may be able to provide them medical relief without dangerous side effects.
After work, I promised my wife Hayley and our two children that we’d go for a hike in Frick Park. We love to take walks and bike rides; sometimes we ride along the Allegheny River trail all the way to McKeesport. It’s flat, and I’ve got a seat on my bike to carry our younger child.
Friday, April 14
Our contractor, Franco Associates, will stop by the office to review plans for our facility. Jordan and I will discuss possible new markets and next steps while our application is under review.
I’m set to have lunch with my brother at Nicky’s Thai Kitchen. I’ve been craving their Pad Thai.
Tonight, Hayley and I are getting a babysitter so we can have a relaxing evening. Our favorite place to hang out is Grandview Avenue on Mt. Washington, where I proposed to her. We love Alla Famiglia in Allentown—awesome food, especially the smoked provolone appetizer.
Saturday, April 15
This is the day for a bike ride, maybe from The Waterfront to Downtown. We always cross over to the Terminal Buildings, where McKnight Realty Partners is working to ready the property for its Highline development.
We’ll stop by my sister-in-law Emily Karp’s ceramics studio, South Shore Ceramics. She is such an accomplished potter; every time we go she’s working on a new custom piece that someone has commissioned. The kids love it!
Sunday, April 16
This is our family day at home, to play with the kids and our Havanese, Charley. It’s always a free-for-all tumbling session between our younger child and the little white fluff ball.
I’m hoping the weather is good so I can break out the grill for Sunday supper—I’m an amateur barbecue smoke master. Ribs are easy; brisket’s the tough one. That’s a 12-hour cook and you’ve got to get up every few hours through the night to maintain it, but my wife loves it, so I make it for special occasions.
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