dispensary

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Is this the year state legislatures lead the charge to pass recreational marijuana laws?

By Omar Sacirbey

While not likely to be as historic as the legalization wave of 2016, this is expected to be a watershed year for the cannabis industry.

For the first time, from all indications, state legislatures are poised to pass recreational marijuana legalization laws, with the East Coast being the most fertile ground for such efforts.

Vermont appears to be leading the charge after state lawmakers Wednesday approved legislation permitting citizens to possess and home grow marijuana. Republican Gov. Phil Scott said he will sign the legislation.

So far, the recreational cannabis laws that exist in eight states and Washington DC have been enacted by voters.

But some state legislatures are poised to lead the way, apparently brushing off the decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rip up Obama-era protections for states with legal marijuana industries.

If those efforts are successful, it could provide the impetus for other states to follow.

“This would be a major development for the cannabis industry,” said Michael Bronstein, a marijuana industry advocate who’s involved in efforts to legalize recreational MJ in New Jersey, one of several states where lawmakers are working on adult-use bills.

“It would show lawmakers across the country that they can pass adult-use laws and the sky won’t fall,” he added.

“In fact, it would show that they are in lockstep with public sentiment, which overwhelmingly favors adult-use legalization.”

 

Read the full article HERE.

Shrinking Supply For Growing Demand: Philly Down To 3 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia has lost one of its medical marijuana dispensaries and three others that were supposed to be operating by now have postponed their openings. Medical marijuana won’t be available in the city until at least March.

Terra Vida had obtained a permit for a location in Mt. Airy, but founder Chris Visco says, after a zoning fight with city council members, she’s relocating to Chester County.

“We searched throughout the entire city, everywhere we could think of looking,” Visco said. “There was a location on City Line Avenue that we thought would be great, but there was no way to have any private access to our space for delivery of product.”

Visco says between the state rule that deliveries have to be made out of public view, and a city ordinance restricting locations near day care providers, there’s nowhere left in the city to put a dispensary.

Terra Vida’s departure leaves three providers. One is being sued so its future is up in the air. The other two, Integrative Wellness on Frankford Avenue and Holistic Pharma on Krewstown Road, got extensions for opening, as did the other 52 dispensaries statewide. Holistic founder Keith Morgan says growers are only now getting started.

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.

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

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.

For medical marijuana patients in the suburbs, Philadelphia’s loss will be Malvern’s gain

by Sam Wood

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program will launch early next year, but Philadelphia — a city of more than 1.5 million people — is likely to host only two dispensaries.

Four storefronts initially were set to operate within the city limits when the state Department of Health awarded permits in June.

Two of the permit holders, however, ran into immediate opposition. Now one of those locations is entangled in a court battle and the other announced its intention on Friday to move to Chester County.

PharmaCann L.L.C. had designs on the site of a former ChiChi’s Mexican Restaurant adjacent to the former Franklin Mills Mall in Northeast Philadelphia. The owners of the mall, Simon Property Group, are challenging the location in court.

TerraVida Holistic Centers had planned to occupy a former bank building in East Mount Airy. Neighbors, led by Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker, challenged TerraVida’s zoning by claiming the Stenton Ave. location was too close to an unlicensed child care facility. Rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars in a protracted legal battle, TerraVida asked the state for permission to relocate. By law, all dispensaries are required to be operational by New Years.

Chris Visco, TerraVida’s president, said she spent months searching for a new city location.

“There was nowhere to go,” Visco said. “We looked everywhere.”

An ordinance, sponsored by Councilwoman Parker and adopted earlier this year, forbids dispensaries within 500 feet of a day-care center.

Because of the ordinance, “(t) here’s not a single building that would meet approval in Mount Airy,” Visco said. “We looked at Chestnut Hill, but none of the properties are zoned correctly.”

Dispensaries must have a private, out-of-view access in the rear of the building. Visco said finding one is “virtually impossible” in Philadelphia. In addition, strip malls owned by out-of-state companies won’t lease to dispensaries, she said.

 

Read more HERE.