Viewing posts tagged Philadelphia

Philadelphia Greenlights Marijuana to Treat Opioid Withdrawal

Terminal illness, neurodegenerative diseases, and dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders are can now be treated with medical marijuana.

U.S. city Philadelphia will soon be second, after New Jersey, to permit the use of marijuana to treat opioid withdrawal.

“It’s another tool,” Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said. “The whole idea of this program is to provide another tool in the toolbox of physicians to treat these conditions.”

Levine explained that her office has approved the sale of cannabis leaf or bud, which is more affordable than oils or vaporizers since it requires no additional processing.

“I am ecstatic today,” State Sen. Daylin Leach, said. “Allowing the whole plant will dramatically expand the number of patients who benefit from medical cannabis and will go a long way toward guaranteeing that this huge new industry survives and prospers.”

Gov. Tom Wolf thanked Levine and the state Department of Health for approving the changes.

“Allowing dry leaf for vaporization will shorten the time it takes to get medication to dispensaries, expand options for the growing number of patients, and hopefully make the program less cost-prohibitive for some patients.”

Read the full article HERE

Philadelphia considers opening site for heroin users to shoot up safely


PHILADELPHIA  In just six years, the number of deaths year from opioid overdoses in the U.S. has doubled to more than 42,000. The crisis spurred the surgeon general on Thursday to encourage more people to carry an antidote to reverse overdoses.

In Philadelphia, the nation’s fifth largest city, the opioid epidemic is so bad that city officials are now taking extreme measures to save lives. They want to give addicts a safe place to get high.

One 30-year-old woman who goes by Rachel has been getting high for the past 13 years.

“I’m actually trying to get a detox so I don’t want my habit to take control,” she said.

She’s a mother of two. But her desire to care for her kids, she says, isn’t strong enough to pull her from under a sheet of darkness and away from her body’s call for heroin.

Last year, 1,200 people died of a drug overdose in Philadelphia, a number that’s quadrupled in the past five years. To address that, Philadelphia is moving to become one of the first cities in the nation to allow safe injection sites, where people can go and shoot up heroin under the supervision of healthcare workers. It’s part of a new approach to tackle the opioid crisis by treating it as a public health issue.

The sites could end up in one neighborhood, known as Kensington, an area where you can see addicts sticking themselves with needles filled with drugs and living in encampments.

“In all the years I’ve been covering marginalized communities like this one here in Kensington, I’ve never seen anything close to this level of desperation,” said Christopher Moraff, a freelance journalist who has been covering the opioid epidemic.

At a public hearing that took place Wednesday night, those who opposed an injection site in their neighborhood explained why.

“When you say this is best for saving lives you’re not including our lives,” said one person. “You’re not thinking about me and what I experienced growing up and you’re not thinking about my children who will be exposed to this as long as we live.”

“We have a crisis here in Philadelphia,” said Dr. Tom Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner. “These facilities look sort of like a clinic. If they’re simply there to inject, they bring in their own drugs that they have bought on the street, they’re given sterile equipment and they inject at the site. If they were to overdose on site, there are medical staff on site who can revive them.”


Read the full article HERE

City Council to Explore Medical Marijuana Workplace Guidelines


“Health issues ought not to be criminalized,” Councilwoman Helen Gym said on Wednesday.

While it’s true that medical marijuana is now legal in the state of Pennsylvania for treatment of certain conditions, cannabis remains outlawed at the federal level. This means that you could be hired one day and fired the next for taking your state-approved medication at night after work.

Given the disparity in medical marijuana laws at the federal, state, and local levels, City Council members are looking to better protect patients in Philadelphia by drafting clear workplace guidelines for use of what is still considered an illegal Schedule I drug by the federal government.

“Health issues ought not to be criminalized,” Councilwoman Helen Gym said at Wednesday’s Labor and Civil Service Committee meeting. Gym believes the priority should be helping patients “become their most full self” by allowing them to work no matter their particular medical situation.

Complicating things even further is the broad state law that allows employers to pick and choose which positions are deemed “safety sensitive” and thus cannot be filled by users of medical marijuana. “Employers may prohibit patients who are employees from performing any task which the employer deems life-threatening to the employee or other employees while under the influence of marijuana,” the law states.

Rather than continue this debate between federal and state law, the Labor and Civil Service Committee has recommended the drafting of specific workplace parameters to serve the city’s needs, even if they aren’t legally binding.

“We are just talking about some sort of guide that we can actively publicize, like a public service announcement or advisory for workers in the city of Philadelphia,” Councilwoman Cherelle Parker said.

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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.”

Read the full article HERE

Pennsylvania’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Open This Week

Here’s when (and where) you’ll be able to buy medicinal weed near Philly.


The wait for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania will (at long last) come to an end this week.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are preparing to open throughout the next few days — and the first ever medicinal cannabis sale is planned for 9 a.m. on Thursday at Cresco Yeltrah in Butler, located about an hour north of Pittsburgh.
Near Philly, patients registered for the medical marijuana program will be able to purchase their first dose of medicinal cannabis on Saturday from either Keystone Shops in Devon or Terra Vida Holistic Center in Sellersville.

In total, six dispensaries will open their doors this week. Keystone Canna Remedies in Bethlehem, Solevo in Pittsburgh, and Organic Remedies in Enola (west of Harrisburg) will begin business on Friday.

Gov. Tom Wolf, who signed the state’s medical marijuana program into law in April 2016, celebrated the milestone in a statement on Tuesday.

“Pennsylvanians have been waiting years for this moment,” Wolf said. “Medical marijuana is legal, safe, and now available to Pennsylvanians suffering from 17 serious medical conditions. In less than two years, we have developed a regulatory infrastructure, approved physicians as practitioners, certified patients to participate and launched a new industry to help thousands find relief from their debilitating symptoms.”

Philadelphia Rep. Jordan Harris to Introduce Bill to Automatically Expunge Cannabis Convictions for Medical Marijuana Patients in Pennsylvania

“It will be for anyone with a medical marijuana recommendation,” State Rep. Jordan Harris told NBC10.

As Pennsylvania inches closer to rolling out its medical marijuana program, a Philadelphia Democrat is introducing a bill to automatically expunge pot convictions for patients with legal cannabis recommendations.

“It will be for anyone with a medical marijuana recommendation,” State Rep. Jordan Harris told NBC10. “Should they have a possession conviction, they will have the opportunity vacate that conviction.”

Under Harris’ proposal, the expungement process would be automatic. He is currently looking for cosponsors.

“It’s the fact that the past can continue to harm [patients],” he said. “There are a lot of people with convictions. We have to be sure that our laws are not contradictory.”

2017 report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania found that black communities in Pennsylvania were disproportionately impacted by the war on weed.

In Montgomery, Bucks and Chester counties, black adults are nearly seven times more likely than white adults to be arrested for pot, according to the report. In Delaware County, the rate drops down to nearly five times more likely. And in Berks County, it’s around four times more likely.

Harris’ bill would allow patients to avoid legal fees and judges to avoid backlogs in court.

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