News

Cable TV Scion Chase Lenfest Sued Over Marijuana Deal Gone Bad

by 

A California-based cannabis industry expert has accused the prominent philanthropist and two New York men of conspiracy, fraud, and other offenses.

Last June, Pennsylvania awarded medical marijuana licenses to 12 companies in the state, allowing them to cultivate and process cannabis for sale at as-yet-to-open dispensaries. And now one of those companies — the one involving Main Line millionaire Chase Lenfest — is embroiled in a legal battle in federal court.

California-based cannabis industry expert Harris Silver, owner of consulting firm EntityX, has filed a federal lawsuit against Lenfest and New York investors Kevin Murphy and Melvin Yellin, the three men behind medical marijuana licensee Prime Wellness.

In the suit, Silver alleges that the men participated in a “fraudulent scheme to dupe” Silver into helping them get their license and then “cheat” him out of the money he says they owe him. Through a representative, Lenfest told Philly Mag he had no comment on the suit. Contacted at his New York apartment, Yellin termed Silver a “disgruntled consultant.” Neither Murphy nor an attorney for Prime Wellness could be reached for comment.

According to the suit, Murphy and Yellin decided to get into the medical marijuana business in Pennsylvania, and they wanted Lenfest on their team because of his prominent family name (the Lenfests are some of the region’s most well-known entrepreneurs and philanthropists), his fat wallet (he laid out $7.7 million for a 46th-floor condo at Two Liberty Place in 2009, and then there’s his vast manse in Gladwyne across the street from the exclusive Philadelphia Country Club), and all of the connections that come with those things.

Silver claims that Murphy and Yellin tried but failed to get medical marijuana licenses in Connecticut and Illinois in previous years, so they brought in Silver, whose company claims a 100-percent success rate in obtaining marijuana licenses, to help convince Lenfest to join them and to ensure that the application was approved once he did.

 

Read the full article HERE

Pennsylvania Gives Approval To First Medical Marijuana Dispensary

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania officials on Thursday announced the first all-clear for a medical marijuana dispensary in the state to begin providing the drug once it becomes available from a licensed grower.

The Keystone Canna Remedies dispensary in Bethlehem received the state authorization, a major milestone in Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana program.

“It means there’s going to be safe and effective access to a new medicine that can help (patients) in a wide variety of ways,” said Victor Guadagnino, the company’s co-founder and chief of business development. He said the company sees the drug as a way patients can take a more active role in their own health care.

 

Nine entities have been approved to grow and process medical marijuana, and their products are expected to be available to patients in the coming four months.

Gov. Tom Wolf said the approval is good news for patients and their caregivers.

“We are one step closer to providing medical marijuana to patients with serious medical conditions who desperately need this medication,” the Democratic governor said.

Guadagnino, who lives in New York City, said the dispensary in Bethlehem will open this month for educational workshops and registration assistance, but he does not expect to have the product available until mid-February.

The Bethlehem dispensary, which Guadagnino said is part of their multimillion-dollar medical marijuana investment in the region, will start with four or five employees and grow based on patient demand. The company also plans to eventually open two other dispensaries in the Lehigh Valley.

Acting Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said officials expect more dispensaries to open in the coming weeks.

The announcement of the first dispensary came as the U.S. Justice Department said federal prosecutors are being given more latitude to pursue criminal charges involving marijuana. In response, Wolf vowed to do whatever he can “to protect Pennsylvania patients.”

A 2016 state law legalized medical marijuana for people suffering from one of 17 qualifying conditions, including AIDS, autism, cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and Crohn’s disease.

 

Read the full article HERE.

Trump administration to end policies that let legal marijuana flourish

by Sam Wood & Justine McDaniel

The Trump Administration is rescinding the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will instead let federal prosecutors decide how aggressively to enforce federal marijuana law in states where it is legal, according to a memo obtained Thursday by Politico.

The move adds to the confusion about whether it’s OK to grow, buy, or use marijuana in states where pot is legal since the long-standing federal law prohibits it.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), described the action as “unjust, backwards” and “wrong.”

“Jeff Sessions’ determination to revive the failed War on Drugs knows no bounds.” Booker said. “History has shown that our deeply broken drug laws disproportionately harm low-income communities and communities of color and cost us billions annually in enforcement, incarceration, and wasted human potential, without making us any safer. This unjust, backwards decision is wrong for America, and will prove to be on the wrong side of history.”

Session’s memo comes days after pot shops opened in California, launching what is expected to become the world’s largest market for legal recreational marijuana and, as polls show, a solid majority of Americans believe the drug should be legal.

New Jersey and Delaware have had medical marijuana programs for several years. Pennsylvania is set to make medicinal cannabis available in the coming months for patients suffering from any one of 17 serious health conditions. It was unclear Thursday morning how Session’s move will impact the state programs.

While Sessions has been carrying out an agenda that follows Trump’s top priorities on such issues as immigration and opioids, the changes to pot policy reflect his own concerns. Trump previously has stated decisions about marijuana should be left to the states, but the president is known to change his mind on a whim.

Reaction in the Philadelphia region to the Sessions announcement was swift.

“Will Sessions single-handedly crush a $7.2 billion industry spanning 30 states, generating millions in taxes, and providing tens of thousands of jobs?” said Steve Schain, an attorney with the Hoban Law Group, a national firm with dozens of marijuana business clients.

Lindy Snider, a cannabis-industry investor who is prominent in Libertarian circles, said rescinding the Obama-era policy “makes absolutely no sense.”

“I’m so angry about it,” Snider said. “The government is supposed to operate at the will of the governed. That’s just part of the American Constitution. This should not be about Jeff Session’s opinions. Over 50 percent of Americans say legalize this. He better have a damn good plan.”

Read the full article HERE

Bethlehem company gets green light to dispense medical marijuana

A Bethlehem facility has been given the full green light to start dispensing medical marijuana to qualifying patients as soon as the drug is available in coming months, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday.

GuadCo LLC’s dispensary, Keystone Canna Remedies, at 1309 Stefko Blvd. is the Lehigh Valley’s first medical marijuana operation to secure final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“It means there’s going to be safe and effective access to a new medicine that can help (patients) in a wide variety of ways,” Victor Guadagnino, the company’s co-founder and chief of business development, told The Associated Press. “We really do look at medical marijuana as a new platform to reintegrate the patient back into their own health care.”

It may take about four months for licensed growers to get the medicine to Keystone Canna, which then could treat patients with state-issued medical marijuana identification cards, health officials said.

Read the full article HERE

While feds say states can’t legalize marijuana anymore, Pa. will leave medical pot alone

January 4th began as a milestone day for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program,  but it quickly took a turn that left some wondering if that might be the last one.

Hours after Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the all-clear was given for the state’s first dispensary to open, an official announcement came down from President Donald Trump’s U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he was changing direction in how the federal law with regard to marijuana is enforced.

In it, Sessions, who has said he believes marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to addiction, gave the green light to federal prosecutors to enforce the 48-year-old federal law prohibiting marijuana cultivation, distribution, and possession as they see fit.

That immediately put a number of the medical marijuana supporters across Pennsylvania on edge.

Patients with 17 qualifying medical conditions have been waiting for years to be able to legally buy home-grown medical marijuana products in Pennsylvania. Now they are only four months away from being able to do that, and then this happens.

Gov. Tom Wolf didn’t waste time in sending out a warning shot that he will do everything in his power to protect the state’s medical marijuana program from what he calls a federal overreach.

 

Read the full article HERE

Budtender training to be offered in Philly in 2018

BY ANDREW PARENT 

Interested in learning how to be a budtender? You could have your chance next month.

Hempstaff, a medical marijuana recruitment firm that bills itself as a nationwide leader in dispensary training, is set to hold two separate training and certification sessions on Jan. 20 in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Island Avenue, near Philadelphia International Airport.

The classes start at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m

Led by a trainer from Colorado, the classes cover laws pertaining to the medical marijuana industry and what to expect as a budtender, along with a slew of other topics. The training and certification are designed to give aspiring dispensary agents a resume boost, the Florida-based company writes in a lengthy description of its training.

A Facebook page for the training states that the classes are fast-paced and take four hours to complete. Those who pass a test with at least 75 percent will receive the company’s budtender certification.

The company also offers a resume review for passing students.

“There is no state-approved certification for Dispensary Training in ANY state yet, as it is still Federally Illegal, so this will be the best certification you can get!” the company states.

But admission to the course is limited and won’t come cheap. Tickets on Eventbrite are going for $249 a pop, and there were only 40 open slots remaining between the two sessions as of Friday afternoon.

If available, tickets at the door will cost $300 apiece, the company said.

 

Read the full article HERE.

Pa. gun owners take notice: You could lose your guns if you use legal medical marijuana

Feds say guns and marijuana don’t mix. No similar bans for alcohol or mental health problems

Love your guns? Looking forward to the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania in 2018? A major conflict looms.

While legal for medical use in 29 states, the federal government still classifies marijuana in any form as a controlled substance on par with heroin.

So, before you apply for that medical marijuana card consider this: Federal law also bans gun ownership for medical marijuana patients. And, it has since 2011.

On Wednesday, The Philadelphia Inquirer explored the risks and realities of changes in the law that stand to create significant conflict for some.

Read the full article HERE

More than 10,000 sign up for Pa. Medical marijuana program

By 

More than 10,000 patients have registered to participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, according to the latest figures released this week by the state Department of Health.

“Patients have started to receive their medical marijuana identification cards, bringing us one step closer to getting medication to patients in the next four months,” said Pa. Gov Tom Wolf said. “Our grower/processors are well underway, and our dispensaries are approaching the point where they will be ready to open their doors. Patients who are desperately waiting for this medication will soon find relief.”

Of the 10,135 patients who have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, 1,188 have been certified by a physician to participate.

To date, the Department of Health has approved eight grower/processors to begin operations:

  • Cresco Yeltrah, Jefferson County;
  • Franklin Labs, Berks County;
  • GTI Pennsylvania, Montour County;
  • Ilera Healthcare, Fulton County;
  • Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, Lackawanna County;
  • PurePenn LLC, Allegheny County;
  • Standard Farms, Luzerne County; and
  • Terrapin Investment Fund, Clinton County.

Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said the remaining four grower/processors selected to participate n the program are in the final stages of the inspection process.

“At this time” she said, “we do not foresee any issues with the remaining facilities that would prevent them from becoming operational.”

In June, the state issued permits for 27 medical marijuana dispensary permits. Each permit holder gains can open up to three storefront locations.

The health department also announced 550 physicians have registered to participate in the program and of those, nearly 250 have completed the training to become certified practitioners.

The state recently approved the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, to serve as a fifth continuing education provider for the medical marijuana program.

Read the full article HERE

Pot-smoking on the rise among U.S. pregnant women

Philly hospitals, medical schools jockey for marijuana partners

by Sam Wood

The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia this week became the latest academic player to announce it was getting into marijuana research.

The school is pairing with Franklin BioScience, a large grower out of Denver, to create more consistent marijuana products and develop a cannabis education program for pharmacists, physicians, and students planning on entering the health professions.

Big marijuana is banking on Pennsylvania to become a major hub of the burgeoning legal cannabis sector, which last year was valued at $6.7 billion nationwide and is expected to balloon to over $21 billion by 2021, according to estimates by the Arcview Group.

 

read the full article HERE.