Medical Marijuana Grower Applicant Growing Controversey in Wyoming County Neighborhood

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EXETER TOWNSHIP -- In just two weeks, Pennsylvania will begin accepting permits to grow, process, and dispense medical marijuana.

Wilkes-Barre Township is set to vote Monday night on its rules for the industry.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming County, plans to allow a medical marijuana growing facility in a neighborhood is meeting with controversy.

Bill Banta of Rowlands Pennsylvania Produce said the medical marijuana industry is a budding business, and he wants his family-owned farm near Falls to be part of it.

"It's a huge business venture, of course," he said. "But we have a passion for the medical part of it."

He said he researched medical marijuana and that it could treat several illnesses, like Parkinson's.

But some of his neighbors in Exeter Township don't want that kind of grass grown near their backyards.

"We're concerned about our quality of life behind here," said Jeanne Rought.

Medical marijuana is so new in Pennsylvania, Rought is not sure how it'll affect home values. She also worries about safety for her kids.

"We have family and children that live around here and we're concerned about crime," she said.

Rought believes medical marijuana will help people. She's not opposed to that. But she lives in a rural area and wants to keep it that way. She says a private driveway, which she partially owns but that Banta is allowed to use, simply cannot handle a business that grows medical marijuana.

"To have the added traffic on a driveway is concerning to us," she said.

Last month, Exeter Township supervisors voted to support the medical marijuana growing operation. But at Monday night's meeting, some neighbors will ask them to withdraw their support.

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