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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

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

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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