Erie medical marijuana dispensary opens

Rise Erie is the first medical marijuana dispensary in Erie County.

David Bruce @ETNBruce

Tim Smock drove 25 miles and waited outside in freezing weather for a half-hour Wednesday morning so he could buy medical marijuana to ease the debilitating pain of his multiple sclerosis.

He also spent about $600.

“My pain-management doctor recommended I try medical marijuana,” Smock said. “I have tried all sorts of pain medication and either they don’t work at all or they cause nasty side effects.”

Smock, a 40-year-old Albion man, was one of the initial customers at Rise Erie, Erie County’s first medical marijuana dispensary. The facility, located at 2108 W. Eighth St., opened for business Wednesday.

It marked the first time marijuana has been legally sold in Erie County. Rise Erie offers marijuana-based oils, vape cartridges, transdermal patches, gels and ointments to customers with medical marijuana identification cards provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 

About a dozen potential customers, including Smock, were waiting outside when Rise Erie opened Wednesday at 9 a.m.

“We’re allowing only one person at a time into the lobby where they show their medical marijuana identification card,” said Tim Hawkins, market president of Pennsylvania for GTI LLC, the Chicago-based company that owns Rise Erie. “Once their ID is validated, they can head to our waiting area or meet with our pharmacist, and we let the next person inside.”

About 75 customers had visited Rise Erie during its first five hours of operation and another 25 showed up and asked how they can obtain a medical marijuana ID card. Application information is available on the state health department’s website,

Smock spent about two hours inside the dispensary, answering staff questions about the chronic pain he suffers from multiple sclerosis and learning about the different medical marijuana products.


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