Viewing posts tagged pennsylvania

Medical marijuana producers see stigma fading


PHILADELPHIA — More than two months after the first licensed shops opened in Pennsylvania, medical marijuana producers still struggle to keep dispensaries stocked.

Despite demand that regularly outpaces supply in many shops, growers and sellers alike are optimistic that the industry will find its footing soon.

“I think everybody was kind of just taken aback by how many patients we have coming through the doors,” said Chris Visco, president of TerraVida Holistic Centers, a dispensary company with shops in Southeast Pennsylvania.

She spoke alongside eight of her industry peers at the Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo on Monday in Philadelphia and said her company’s dispensaries have treated more than 4,400 people since opening its first shop in February.

“When we were getting into this, we believed that, with it being such a conservative state, there would be very few doctors who would sign up for the program,” Visco said, adding that now more than 900 physicians have registered with the state Medical Marijuana Program.

Gov. Tom Wolf made Pennsylvania the 24th U.S. state to legalize cannabis for medical use in 2016 when he signed the Medical Marijuana Act.

Cannabis investment firm Greenhouse Ventures is hosting the three-day conference where industry leaders said although Pennsylvania wasn’t first, it is leading in key areas, such as opening it up to treat more illnesses than most states.

Pennsylvania also puts a stronger emphasis on research with a first-of-its-kind program allowing medical schools to study the drug.

“PA is really surprising everybody,” said Charles Bachtell, co-founder the cannabis production and dispensary company Cresco Yeltrah. “Of these highly regulated, compliance-focused programs east of the Mississippi, without question, I think Pennsylvania’s off to the best start.”

Cannabis still has an image problem, panel members said during their one-hour industry status update. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency still considers it a Schedule I drug, which means the risk of federal agents shutting down any operation looms overhead perpetually.


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City Council Committee Reveals Employment Risks For Medical Marijuana Users

By Pat Loeb


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania has made medical marijuana legal, but it can’t completely shield people who take it from consequences. A city council committee hearing last week highlighted potential problems for patients.

Pennsylvania law says a person can’t lose their job because they’re certified to use medical marijuana, but attorney George Voegele told the panel it also doesn’t require an employer to accommodate marijuana use.

“Zero tolerance policies are still okay,” Voegele said. “You can discipline or terminate an employee for failing a drug test and, of course, you can still discipline an employee who’s under the influence.”

Veogele says that may change if challenged in court, but some jobs, such as truck drivers, regulated by federal law, would still not be protected and the state sets aside a number of jobs users can’t do.

“No one wants someone using medical marijuana driving their children’s school bus,” he said, “or up in a cherry picker working on power lines.”

Councilwoman Cherelle Parker was distressed to learn of the employment risks.

“The notion that someone suffering from PTSD or cancer could lose their job because they are a medical marijuana patient was devastating,” Parker said.

She hopes for a public awareness campaign for employers and workers.


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Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo to Debut in Philadelphia as the Largest Gathering of Universities and Researchers in the Study of Marijuana and Hemp


Greenhouse Ventures 

PHILADELPHIAMarch 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Greenhouse Ventures (GHV) – a Philadelphia-based business accelerator – will host the inaugural Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PAApril 30 – May 2.

Home to multiple universities and research initiatives, Philadelphia continues to rise as a leader in medical cannabis, and is now positioned to become the cannabis hub for the Northeast Corridor by 2020. “The Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo is key to establishing Pennsylvania as the Cannabis and Hemp Research Capital in the United States,” says Greenhouse Ventures CEO, Kevin Provost.  “Chapter 19 and Chapter 20 of PA Act 16 are helping motivate Pennsylvania universities to join the cannabis and hemp industry; however, we need cross-institution collaboration between our colleges here and experts within key markets such as IsraelCanadaCalifornia, and Colorado to truly lead in areas of research and health education,” Provost continued.

With a track record for hosting sold-out conferences in Philadelphia, including “Innovation in the Cannabis Industry,” a sold-out April 2016 event as well as various Continuing Education programs with Thomas Jefferson University, Greenhouse Ventures’ Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo has received an overwhelming response and is projected to sell out.

The Cannabis Learn Conference comes on the heels of Pennsylvania’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opening, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy calling for an expansion of medical marijuana access in the Garden State and New YorkGovernor Cuomo’s proposal for funding a study on legalizing recreational use in New York.

“As with anything, education should always be backed by research and data,” states Larry R. Kaiser, MD, President, and CEO of the Temple University Health System and Dean of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. “When dealing with cannabis, developing evidence-based data is key to the formation of a responsible and successful industry.”

Success and compliance in the cannabis industry requires ongoing education and training. The Cannabis Learn Conference will bring the leading universities and researchers from around the world together to discuss the future of medical research and technology commercialization within the cannabis and hemp industries. Over 50 of the industry’s most knowledgeable professionals will present at Cannabis Learn, along with top universities including Thomas Jefferson UniversityUniversity of ColoradoTemple UniversityUniversity of New Mexico, University of FloridaUniversity of Virginia, and University of the Sciences amongst others. Presentations will include sessions on cannabis reversing the opioid epidemic, cannabis for HIV/AIDS patients, synthetic cannabinoids, pain management, pharmacological advances, and the establishment of centers of excellence.

“Industry professionals have been operating in ‘information silos’ for far too long,” notes Matthew J. Nordgren, CEO of ARCADIAN Fund – a professionally managed ancillary cannabis growth-stage investment fund, based in California. “I’m excited to speak at the Cannabis Learn Conference & Expo because it’s an opportunity to unite these silos by bringing together key stakeholders to share important and relevant information.”

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Pennsylvania misses hemp target, but expansion still coming

By Kristen Nichols

Response to Pennsylvania’s plan to expand hemp production has been lower than state officials anticipated.

The state set an ambitious goal for increasing hemp production this year by offering more licenses and increasing the acreage farmers can use to develop hemp from 5 acres to 100 acres.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said when he announced the expansion last December that farmers were showing “tremendous enthusiasm” for reviving the crop.

Pennsylvania offered 50 hemp licenses for 2018, up from 30.

The state announced last week that it approved 39 hemp projects for 2018.

Pennsylvania still considers its hemp expansion a success.

Agriculture officials point out that production may increase nearly 30 times, a huge jump, and that state regulators never planned on more than 50 applicants.

“We wanted to make sure the opportunity was there,” said Bonnie McCann, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.


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Activist aim for legislation decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana in PA


HARRISBURG, P.A. — Residents, elected officials and national marijuana activists joined at the Capitol rotunda Tuesday morning to push for legislation decriminalizing and/or legalizing marijuana, statewide.

Proponents of lessening penalties for marijuana use and possession believe now that medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, the time for further legislation is right.

“We are your friends, we are your family, we are your co-workers and your neighbors. We are good people who do not deserve to be arrested for making this simple choice,” said Jeff Riedy, Director of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Lehigh Valley.

A handful of cities across the commonwealth, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, currently have ordinances in place lessening the penalty for possession of marijuana.

Activists want those lighter rules across the state.

“We need to stop arrests, we need to clear records, we need to offer pathways to legitimacy for our underground cannabis market today,” said Chris Goldstein with NORML Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the legalization of marijuana would bring the state a minimum of $200 million, per year, in new revenue.

“That’s money we could put back into our school system, not have to worry about jailing people. By the same token, help our economy grow because new businesses get created,” said DePasquale.

Speakers at the rally Tuesday morning were critical of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who issued a memo on January 4 directing U.S. Attorneys to enforce federal laws prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana.

“There is nothing the attorney general of the United States can do to force Pennsylvania to re-criminalize marijuana *should* it move forward and end the criminal stigma,” said Justin Strekal, National Political Director for NORML.

With medical marijuana now legal in the commonwealth, some elected officials believe it’s unfair to hold previous marijuana offenses against individuals.


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