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Law Pennsylvania

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Local Cannabis Connoisseurs Hope for Legalization

SCRANTON -- Just days after the State Auditor General expressed hope that Pennsylvania will join the list of states allowing both medical and recreational marijuana, crowds gathered en masse in one part of Lackawanna County to show their support for the legalization of marijuana.

The Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival in Nay Aug Park in Scranton is a festival of many forms -- part political rally, part music festival, and part shopping bazaar. Last year's festival took place on the same day that legislators in Harrisburg legalized medical marijuana statewide -- and festival organizers were hoping to recapture some of that spirit this year.

The Cannabis Festival made its third return this year, catering to a diverse crowd with a wide variety of activities. While people of all ages -- including many families with small children -- soaked up the sun and danced in the grass at Nay Aug, there was also plenty of politicking from those who believe the state is closer than ever to legalizing recreational marijuana.

"This event here is showing that Pennsylvanian's are in support of it, that we are not too conservative or old," said Lindsay Repman of Williamsport.

Even small business owners turned out in abundance to the festival. Jesse Shaffer owns Outta This World, a smoke shop in the Lee Park section of Hanover Township. The 21-year-old believes that full legalization would be a game changer for his business.

"This plant that can help all of these people -- including myself -- is a multi billion dollar industry, being sat on in Pennsylvania for stupid reasons," said Shaffer. "That's my opinion, there are billions of dollars to be made in this industry."

The pipes that Shaffer sells are manufactured locally by artists all across Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

One such artisan glassblower, Richie Hull, left his native Susquehanna County for a time to move to Colorado to practice his craft -- a state where recreational pot is legalized. He since moved home, and hopes Pennsylvania will soon get on the same page as many other states in the nation.

"I love it here, it is my home, I want to see things legalized," Hull said.

He, and many others, believe the legalization will provide economic opportunities for young people to remain in the area.

"We don't always all have to flood to Colorado and California," he added. "We can stay right here."

While legalization has won the support of some state officials in Harrisburg, the role of the federal government still remains a question mark. The Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival continues until 7 p.m. in Nay Aug Park in Scranton.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Wolf: I'll Protect Medical Marijuana Patients from Jeff Sessions


Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf isn’t happy with a letter that surfaced this week from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The letter, which Sessions sent to congressional leaders in May, seeks to undo federal medical-marijuana protections. Sessions asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to alter a 2014 amendment to allow the Department of Justice to use funds to prevent states from allowing the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Sessions attempts to tie medical marijuana to the opioid drug epidemic, though studies show that opiate deaths and overdoses are actually less common in states that have medical marijuana laws.

Wolf has responded to Sessions’s request with his own letter to the attorney general. In his memo, Wolf references the “bipartisan and medical consensus for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania,” where “we have taken very careful and deliberate steps to implement the law so that those who are suffering can get relief while ensuring that the state is a responsible steward of the program.”

The governor warns that he would “seek legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty” if Sessions continues to “pursue this federal shift and Congress were to agree.”

Here’s the full letter from Wolf to Sessions:

“Dear Attorney General Sessions:

Last year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed bipartisan legislation to legalize medical marijuana that I was proud to sign into law. The legislation was the result of conversations with Republicans and Democrats and fierce advocacy from families of children who were stricken with terrible illnesses that could be helped by medical marijuana.

We talked to kids who suffer dozens of seizures each day. We met veterans who have seen absolute terror and seek relief from the effects of their post-traumatic stress. We approached the responsibility of providing relief to the people of Pennsylvania very thoughtfully.

Since I signed the legislation, we have taken very careful and deliberate steps to implement the law so that those who are suffering can get relief while ensuring that the state is a responsible steward of the program.

Given the bipartisan and medical consensus for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania and many other states, I am disturbed to know that you are actively pursuing a change in federal law to go after medical marijuana suppliers.

We do not need the federal government getting in the way of Pennsylvania’s right to deliver them relief through our new medical marijuana program.

Your action to undo the protections of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the use of federal funds to disrupt states’ efforts to implement “their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana” is misguided.

If you seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty.”

Go Gov. Wolf! Ole' Jefferson is going to be in for such an ass kicking if he follows up on his misguided and ignorant statements of policy.

:thumbsup::torching::nunchuks:
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana: Licensing, Research, and Autism

The state of Pennsylvania is anticipated to begin awarding their first medical marijuana licenses today.

And, eager to learn more about the medicinal effect of the plant’s active compounds, Pennsylvania’s Lehigh University has announced their intention to study the synergistic effect of the plant’s many terpenes and cannabinoids on children suffering from autism.

These companies got permits to grow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania


The Pennsylvania Department of Health named the companies that it will issue permits to grow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

That's 12 companies total, including two in a "southcentral" region that includes Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Lebanon, Perry and York counties.

More: Who is behind medical marijuana plans in central Pa.?

York County didn't get any of the permits, which allow the companies to grow medical cannabis products to be sold to state-licensed dispensaries. The state received 177 grower/processor permit applications, including 29 in the southcentral region.

Here is the full list of permit recipients, as named at a news conference Tuesday in Harrisburg, by region:


Northeast


  • Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC—Scranton, Lackawanna County
  • Standard Farms, LLC—White Haven, Luzerne County
Southcentral

  • Ilera Healthcare, LLC—Taylor Township, Fulton County
  • AES Compassionate Care, LLC—Chambersburg, Franklin County
Northcentral

  • Terrapin Investment Fund 1, LLC—Pine Creek Township, Clinton County
  • GTI Pennsylvania, LLC—Danville, Mountour County
Southwest

  • AgriMED Industries of PA, LLC—Cumberland Township, Greene County
  • PurePenn, LLC—McKeesport, Allegheny County
Northeast

  • Holistic Farms, LLC—New Castle, Lawrence County
  • Cresco Yeltrah, LLC—Brookville, Jefferson County
 
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OldOyler

Well-Known Member
Not feeling so bad that he is my new governor. (Live in PA now!).

Thanks for being on top of this, @Baron23 . Good things back to you for your hard work.

:thumbsup:

Peace!
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Not feeling so bad that he is my new governor. (Live in PA now!).

Thanks for being on top of this, @Baron23 . Good things back to you for your hard work.

:thumbsup:

Peace!
Thanks @OldOyler !! I have actually become a bit radicalized about MJ legalization and particularly MMJ so I rather like cruising the net looking for worthwhile info.

PA seems to be doing the job with much more alacrity than MD ever showed. Good luck up there....and I'm not too far away if you get lonely! hahaha
 

OldOyler

Well-Known Member
Crap dude, that info made my day!

Being paranoid, anti government, AND a recluse it can be tough to give me a big smile.

Well, of course there's always... :smoke:

Peace!
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Medical marijuana permits leave losers fuming in Pa.

Pennsylvania’s decision last week to award a dozen permits to grow marijuana has ignited a firestorm of controversy, with many losers decrying a lack of transparency and threatening legal action that could delay getting medicine to patients for years.


The permits are thought to be extremely lucrative — about $40 million apiece — so there are bound to be sore losers, industry experts said. In Maryland and Florida, litigation filed by groups that were shut out has stalled those states’ programs for years.

“Could this slow down the launch of the program? Well, it’s just speculation, but it certainly could,” said Charles Pollack, director of the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp, the medical marijuana think tank based at Thomas Jefferson University. “It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the people file suit to stop the process until there’s more clarity about how the decisions were reached.”


In Harrisburg, some lawmakers are getting an earful.

“We’re getting inundated with calls from angry applicants,” said Steve Hoenstine, spokesman for State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), who spearheaded the state’s medical marijuana law along with State Sen. Dick Folmer (R., Lebanon). “The calls are misdirected because we had nothing to do with the scoring process.”

It’s not surprising that the losers are bitter. The applicants included a who’s who of marijuana cultivators with national reputations and locals with deep pockets and lofty aspirations. Only 12 were chosen out of 170 firms.


Applicants also spent up to $750,000 each on application fees, attorneys, consultants, lobbyists, securing real estate, architects, and zoning appeals, said Michael Bronstein, director of the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp.

The Inquirer spoke with a dozen bidders or their representatives who confirmed widespread feelings of ire and anguish.

“Many an influential applicant is volcanically angry in a particularly venomous Philadelphia kind of way,” said Steve Shain, of the Hoban Law Group, who represented both successful and losing applicants. “It was an equal-opportunity shellacking, that both the mighty and the not-so-mighty suffered. But the state had to make a decision. There was extraordinarily strong competition.”

Few of the disappointed are complaining in public.

“People are afraid of making noise,” said Pollack of the Lambert Center. That’s because many are applying for the second round of growing permits, which will take the total number of cultivation spaces to 25. In addition, many did not want to jeopardize their chances of winning dispensary permits, which are to be announced Thursday.

Some patients are growing concerned. “I don’t want to see lawsuits flying in Pennsylvania,” said Cara Salemme, who fought for the state’s medical marijuana law so she could give it to her son Jackson, 10, who suffers from intractable epilepsy. “To have it delayed even by a month would be incredibly frustrating. The parents of sick kids, and adult patients, need this medicine.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health, which runs the program, assembled an anonymous panel of state employees to score 170 applications. After the winners were announced, the state released copies of applications that had been heavily redacted by the applicants themselves. Most pages were completely blacked out. Several were so stripped of information that the company owners and backers are not known.

The unsuccessful have a slew of complaints: One of the companies awarded a Pennsylvania license, Vireo Health, is under investigation in Minnesota for illegally shipping $500,000 worth of cannabis oil to an affiliate in New York. (Products are supposed to stay in the state where they are grown.)

A yes/no question about whether firms would practice quality control was scored on a sliding scale for reasons that weren’t explained. Of the 12 permits, eight went to out-of-state businesses. Unlike most other jurisdictions where cannabis is legal in some form, the Pennsylvania law came with no residency rule.

The state was the first in the nation to include a diversity requirement, which gave up to 100 points for bolstering minority participation in an industry where African Americans are few.

African American-owned cannabis growers, however, garnered only middling scores on the diversity section. A spokeswoman said the Department of Health would not explain how answers were scored.

The instructions appeared to give firms many ways to show they were diverse, by citing the ethnic minorities, women, and veterans among their staff and financial backers. Instructions also appeared to prefer groups that had been certified as diverse by third-party organizations.

The highest number of diversity points, 93, was awarded to PurePenn LLC, which won a permit to open in McKeesport, near Pittsburgh. One of the few companies not to redact its diversity statement, PurePenn has no African Americans on staff. Two of its six principals and employees, though, were listed as Hispanic or female. It also included an Asian American among its operators and five women as financial backers.

Ah....just like Maryland....now comes the law suits. This is all about the pork and who gets it...as always. Also, I have been an eval factor team lead and participant in three very large Federal acquisitions during my career. While our main job was to evaluate and score proposals against the published evaluation criteria, we also were equally punctilious about documenting the process and the decision making with a constant eye out for future protests and suits. It would appear that we did a better job than either MD or PA. sigh
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Here’s the complete list of where Pennsylvania’s 52 medical marijuana dispensaries will be
27 companies will run 52 sites, with four in Philadelphia and three in Pittsburgh

HARRISBURG, Pa. — State regulators on Thursday announced the 27 entities that have been selected to operate dispensaries under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law, a program expected to be up and running next year.

The Health Department said not all of them are currently opting to run three locations, so for now there will be 52 dispensaries scattered around the state.


Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensary locations (Pennsylvania Department of Health)
The agency posted online the winners’ applications and the locations where they will operate.

Office of Medical Marijuana director John Collins said the process was competitive, with hundreds of quality applicants.

The entities that were issued permits will have six months to become operational and can begin providing the drug to patients.

A Health Department spokeswoman said they will start to implement the business plans they outlined in their applications, addressing aspects of operations such as security, transportation and employee background checks.

The state government will conduct inspections.

Last week, the state awarded permits to 12 applicants to grow and process medical marijuana.

The Pennsylvania medical marijuana law allows people who suffer from a list of conditions to obtain the drug as pills, vapor, ointment or liquid, but not in smokeable form.

The state expects patients and caregivers to be able to register in September.

All but six of the businesses are based in Pennsylvania. Two are from Arizona, three from Illinois, and one from New York.

Here is the list of dispensaries by city:

(follow link in title to see list)
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Pennsylvania's auditor general renews call for legal recreational marijuana

The state Auditor General is not stopping his call for legalized recreational marijuana in the commonwealth.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale came out in support of legal recreational marijuana earlier this year, saying revenue from taxes could reach $200 million.

Now he says on top of helping ease the state's financial issues, legal pot could be a useful tool in fighting the opioid epidemic.

DePasquale says research shows there are 25% fewer deaths from opioid overdose in states that permit medical marijuana use.

"So the connection I'm drawing there is: there are times when there are going to be people who will smoke marijuana as a way to reduce their pain," DePasquale said. "The ideal would be for nobody to have any pain, but that's not reality. In many instances, marijuana is a much safer alternative than opioids."

DePasquale says he's not trying to play doctor, he's just looking at the numbers.

More than 4,600 Pennsylvanians died of a drug overdose last year.

Reasoning and thinking man, this DePasquale. How unusual in a politician in the new millenium, eh?
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
PA Launches Physician Registry For Medical Marijuana Program

Physicians in Pennsylvania can now register to participate in the state’s forthcoming medical marijuana program.

The state Department of Health announced on Wednesday the launch of its online practitioner registry, open to anyone with current medical licenses -- acquired through medical or osteopathic doctorates -- who actively treats patients with one of 17 serious medical conditions.

Those conditions include inflammatory bowel syndrome, sickle cell anemia, cancer, HIV/AIDS and more.

Acting Health Secretary Rachel Levine said it will be important for the department to know which physicians will be evaluating patients and referring them to dispensaries for treatment.

“We also will have a database so that patients with one of those serious medical conditions will be able to know which physicians are participating in the program,” Levine said.

Physicians who sign up will be required to participate in four hours of continuing education to learn about how to recommend medical marijuana and the appropriate forms and dosages.

Doctors cannot legally “prescribe” medical marijuana under federal law, but in 2002 a federal judge upheld a lower court’s ruling that the government cannot punish a physician for “recommending” marijuana.

Levine said the department is on track to have the entire medical marijuana system up and running in 2018.

“I can’t tell you exactly what date, but we are moving efficiently," Levine said. "But with appropriate quality and standards to make sure that it’s the best program we could possibly make it.”

Licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries have been awarded for locations in Lawrenceville, Oakland, Squirrel Hill and Monroeville. Dispensaries are also coming to Butler, Washington, Westmoreland and Fayette counties.

The state has also awarded grower/processer licenses to facilities in McKeesport, Carmichaels in Greene County and Castle in Lawrence County.

Levine said regulations for patients and the patient registry are coming soon. She wasn't sure precisely when.

A spokesperson for UPMC said they are still in the process of creating guidelines for physicians to recommend medical marijuana. Allegheny Health Network and Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown was unable to provide a physician to comment by press time. St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Pennsylvania Department of Health looking for docs for Medical Marijuana Program

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of Health and Physician General, Dr. Rachel Levine, announced July 26, 2017, that physicians can begin their involvement in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program.

All they need to do is register, according to a press release from the state’s Department of Health.

“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” Dr. Levine said in the release. “Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program.”

A required four hour training session would be administered to physicians enrolled in the program by The Answer Page Inc. and Extra Step Assurance LLC.

The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 7, 2016, and went into effect on May 17 of that year. Expected to be fully operational by next year, the program will provide medical marijuana to Pennsylvania residents under the care of a physician for the treatment of serious illnesses.

I wish them good luck. In MD, mainstream Dr are still shying away from registering as they perceive that there is still risk to their licenses from the Feds (can't blame them). So, what you get is thinly disguised corporate MJ clinics where they bang you for $200-250 to get a certification from a Dr who, for whatever reason, has decided this is a good place to make money. My Doc, she came out of retirement to open her clinic. I rather like her, I rather like what she is doing to increase access to MMJ, but she is definitely in the patient certification business.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Green Thumb to start building marijuana facility in September

Green Thumb Industries looks to begin construction in September on its growing facility for medical marijuana in Danville.

CEO Pete Kadens said the design phase of the $5 million-plus project at the Iron Town Commerce Center should be complete by next week. Permit applications for Danville and Montour County will follow.

“We will hopefully be actively in construction beginning in September and through December. We seek to be substantially complete by early to mid-November and to call for an inspection from the Pennsylvania Department of Health at that time,” Kadens said.

GTI was one of 12 companies selected in June by the Department of Health to grow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. The state set a six-month deadline for growers to be operational.

GTI also secured one of 27 permits for retail dispensaries. Each dispensary permit allows for up to three retail sites. However, the company was awarded a permit in the state’s Northwest quadrant and is limited to operating in Erie County.

Two permits were issued to firms in the Northcentral regions in which the Valley is included: PA Health & Wellness of Centre County and Keystone Center of Integrative Wellness of Lycoming County.

Medical marijuana is expected to be available to patients in 2018, according to John Collins, director of the Office of Medical Marijuana in the Department of Health.

Physicians seeking to participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program can begin an application with the state’s online registry which went live Wednesday.

In a Department of Health survey of 191 physicians, three of four indicated they’d participate.

“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, acting secretary of health and physician general. “Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program.”

GTI’s planned growing facility is set for the former home of a TRW manufacturing plant that closed in 2004. The medical marijuana firm will retrofit 59,500 square feet of space inside the industrial building at East Market and Railroad streets.

Between 50 and 100 jobs are expected as a result — labor, management and specialists. Low-end wages start at $14 hourly plus benefits, said Kadens, a Bucknell University graduate.

A town forum and career fair are tentatively scheduled for mid- to late-September. The location has not been confirmed but Kadens said he’s seeking a site to accommodate up to 200 people.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Want medical marijuana to succeed in Pa.? End draconian physician registry

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is moving at full speed trying to implement an extremely limited medical cannabis law, but there may be a poison pill planted by legislators: Making doctors join a special list.

Only two states operate a similarly draconian “physician registry” scheme for marijuana: New York and New Jersey.

This single provision has proved to be the most difficult obstacle for patients trying to gain access in both states because only a handful of doctors have joined.

Just 474 out of 38,500 practicing physicians in New Jersey and 1,123 out of 96,000 doctors in New York have signed on to write cannabis recommendations. Patients can’t get into the program without one of those doctors. This has kept participation by qualifying residents in both states at a minimum.

Notably, there are no such registry lists for other drugs. We trust anyone with a prescription pad to have the knowledge to dispense an amazing variety of incredibly addictive and all-too-easily-obtained deadly drugs every day. But nontoxic marijuana gets singled out.

The fiscal notes for the N.Y. and N.J. laws envisioned hundreds of thousands of cannabis patients and the same was true with Pennsylvania’s law, Act 16.

Now, years after actually opening the programs, the latest reports show that New York has 24,555 registered patients and New Jersey has just 13,200 with legal access.

Millions of people live with conditions that qualify in both of those states. The single bottleneck of the doctor registry has been immensely chilling.

Pennsylvania announced the physician registry for medical cannabis last week. Unless something changes, there may not be many customers for the small cartel of recently licensed Keystone State cannabis operators who are racing to open.

Building the wall

It’s important to understand the origins of this formidable barricade because states that have more successful patient registration rates allow any doctor to write the recommendations.

Forcing doctors to register was a concept invented by the New Jersey Department of Health in 2011. Gov. Christie was micromanaging the regulatory phase of the compassionate-use law that was passed just before his inauguration.

In now-familiar fashion, Christie railed against the plant while the health department issued hundreds of pages of the most onerous regulations in the country.

I had a front-row seat at the time and reviewed some of the drafts in a crowded conference room at the health department’s headquarters in Trenton as a volunteer for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

The meticulously crafted regulations put the state of New Jersey as arbiter of a nonprofit cartel. The six vertical operations grow and sell the products from the same sites. The Garden State had positioned itself to vigorously defend the precious crop from an onslaught of quack doctors and scam-artist citizens just looking to get high.

The state wanted a 10 percent cap on THC content and a 7 percent sales tax paid directly by patients. This wasn’t in the law; neither was the new registry scheme for physicians.

In one of his regular Hugo Chavezesque appearances on NJ 101.5 FM, Christie admitted to using the regulatory process as a way to rewrite the entire compassionate-use law. Advocates, patients, legislators, and medical professionals immediately recognized the doctor registry requirement as a new and severe prohibition

Months later, during the public comment phase with N.J.’s health department, there was voluminous testimony gathered and presented in an attempt to eliminate that section. But the Christie administration almost seemed to revel in devising new restrictions and insisted that doctors get a special set of papers. The calculated move effectively put a wall between residents and their regular primary-care physicians when it came to medical marijuana.

Why doctors stay away

Despite being genuinely sympathetic to their patients and well-educated on the science, doctors have a wide range of reasons for not loining the registry, including the fear of losing the multiplicity of required insurance or relationships with major health providers.

The other factor is also practical, and a direct result of requiring a registry at all: Being on the list makes people call just for marijuana, possibly getting in the way of the rest of the practice.

An oncologist who joins the registry for a single cancer patient doesn’t want to get flooded with calls from Crohn’s disease patients seeking a recommendation. So they don’t join.

In the last seven years of the Garden State’s program, both the actual science of and national awareness about medical marijuana have increased exponentially. Still, based on the numbers, N.J. doctors have clearly shunned the registry process.

New Jersey and New York (eventually) made the participating doctor lists public, but many aren’t taking new patients.

An added expense for patients

This puts qualifying residents in a tough position. If their regular doctor or specialist agrees with cannabis therapy but won’t join the registry, they have to smile and dial their way down the list.

Dozens of patients in New Jersey have reached out to me about the experience: It sucks.

Patients have to pay between $450 and $700 for several office visits to establish a legally “bona fide” relationship. Because health insurance does not cover any aspect of medical marijuana, this cash comes directly out of the patient’s pocket.

Only after the registered doctor approves can the patient then register with the state for access. That also has an annual fee. The recommending doctor sets a monthly quantity to be dispensed for 30-, 60- or 90-day intervals. Patients typically pay $100 for each follow-up visit to renew their recommendation.

Typically, N.J. patients say it costs about $1,000 per year to maintain legal status in the program. That’s before they pay a single dollar for some actual buds.

What it means for Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Health opened the physician registry last week.

Rachel Levine, physician general of the commonwealth, recently defended the registry in an interview with the Inquirer.

In order to qualify, Pennsylvania physicians had to write recommendations, known as “Safe Harbor Letters,” to authorize families of pediatric patients to import cannabis products from other states until production starts in Pennsylvania. Levine pointed out that 282 such letters have already been issued by the health department. But, those “Safe Harbor” doctors didn’t need to join a registry or take any special classes.

Levine concluded discussion of the doctor registry by saying, “It’s an important component and ensures that physicians have the information to make a determination to see if the patient will benefit.”

Meanwhile, we grant the power of every other prescription pharmaceutical to the very same doctors without any similar extra scrutiny.

What is immensely telling is the lack of large health networks and hospital groups in Pennsylvania standing beside the health department. They could be sending thousands of doctors to join the cannabis registry, but there’s been nothing from that important sector.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society was aggressive in its opposition to the law itself, so it’s doubtful it will be training its members for cannabis recommendations.

Taking down the roadblock

This is a big problem, and there are only a few solutions.

First (and best) would be for the Pennsylvania legislature to amend Act 16 to remove the doctor registry requirement. Slim chance there.

Next would be if the health department really won the buy-in of large networks of medical professionals so most patients could just see their own, regular doctors.

There are more than 55,000 practicing physicians across the commonwealth. If the registry proves to have a similar impact as we’ve seen in other states, we can expect only around 500 doctors to join the Pennsylvania cannabis list during the first year.

And, unless more than 1,000 doctors register, the reality is that most patients, unable to jump over the hurdles, will just stay in the underground marijuana market. That scenario leaves the legal cannabis oil dispensaries with empty shops.

This is the challenge of regulating cannabis. It’s about crafting programs with the flexibility to ensure success and real-world access. That’s why the Pennsylvania health department and legislators should rethink the physician registry.

I can think of no topic that better illustrates our current crop of politicians elitist, superior, and paternalistic anti-democratic views as MMJ and the actions taken by Governors and legislatures that flies directly in the face of the expressed desires of the electorate. Fuck politicians (well, not literally...wouldn't want the vermin to reproduce).
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Ah, we are witnessing the natural progression from "where's mine" at the trough to NIMBY. I do despair for the human race....often.

Politicians line up against proposed Philly marijuana dispensary

Political opposition could derail a medical marijuana dispensary slated to open early next year in Philadelphia’s East Mount Airy neighborhood.

A zoning hearing is set for Tuesday morning that could force East Mount Airy’s TerraVida Holistic Centers dispensary to fold before it opens.

In March, the city granted a zoning permit to TerraVida to operate on the 8300 block of Stenton Avenue at Allens Lane. In June, the state Department of Health awarded the company a highly-coveted license to sell cannabis-derived oils, tinctures, and lotions at the former bank building, which sits on a commercial corridor that includes a small strip mall, two gas stations, and a Rite Aid pharmacy. Only four dispensary permits were slated for the state’s most populous city, though more could be added.

Local politicians, however, have lined up against it. The charge has been led by Ninth District Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker, who maintains that since the neighborhood is densely residential overall, the zoning permit was issued in error. Parker has been joined by State Sen. Art Haywood (Fourth District), and State Rep. Christopher M. Rabb (District 200). On Monday, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, of the adjacent Eighth District, issued a statement announcing she was also “strongly opposed.”

“What is new is also unknown,” Bass said. “Will it attract unwanted elements to a neighborhood? How could having a drug dispensary in a residential community exacerbate crime, traffic, litter, and blight? These are all questions I have posed, along with my Mount Airy constituents. They are impossible to answer, because a medical marijuana dispensary has never existed in Philadelphia.”

Bass said the dispensary should be placed close to an existing medical facility.


If Tuesday’s appeal is successful, the Zoning Board of Adjustments could order the City to revoke the permit, said Mayor Kenney’s spokeswoman Lauren Hitt.

TerraVida’s president, Christine Visco, said she’s in a bind. The building is under an agreement of sale, TerraVida is obligated to buy it for $500,000, and the company is prohibited from using the license to open in another space.

“We have no choice but to open at that location,” Visco said.”The state Department of Health made it very clear that no one can move.”

The hearing is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Zoning Board of Adjustment, 1515 Arch Street on the 18th floor.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
“What is new is also unknown,” Bass said. “Will it attract unwanted elements to a neighborhood? How could having a drug dispensary in a residential community exacerbate crime, traffic, litter, and blight? These are all questions I have posed, along with my Mount Airy constituents. They are impossible to answer, because a medical marijuana dispensary has never existed in Philadelphia.”
In June, the state Department of Health awarded the company a highly-coveted license to sell cannabis-derived oils, tinctures, and lotions at the former bank building, which sits on a commercial corridor that includes a small strip mall, two gas stations, and a Rite Aid pharmacy.
They don't know how having a 'drug dispensary' is going to work out in this location? Maybe they should look to the Rite Aid for answers? :doh: :horse:
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Wow, are yinz PA folks trying to emulate all of the f ups we created in Maryland. Looks like same crap, different state.

Pennsylvania medical marijuana licensing process faces legal tests
Pennsylvania has two legal challenges to deal with regarding licensing decisions for hotly contested medical marijuana business permits.

Two lawsuits were filed Friday against the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana:

  • BrightStar Biomedics is challenging the cultivation license given to Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Vireo Health, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. BrightStar takes exception to the fact two former Vireo employees are under criminal investigation for allegedly smuggling marijuana oil across state lines.
  • Keystone ReLeaf alleges the state’s license application scoring was unfair and seeks an injunction to halt the licensing process.
Legal challenges and lawsuits have become common in states with limited numbers of marijuana-related business licenses, given that applicants often spend enormous amounts of capital in the process and, after failing to win a license, decide to sue.

Those lawsuits can often lead to delays in new marijuana program rollouts, such as in Massachusetts and Maryland.

Pennsylvania’s MMJ program allows for up to 25 cultivation permits – though so far only 12 have been awarded – and 50 dispensary licenses, of which 27 have been handed out.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Here is the rat in the woodpile:

"The law permits marijuana as pills, oils, vapor or liquid but not in plant form, and patients may not grow their own."

They are going to have, perhaps, the same useless and expensive program as NY??



Pennsylvania starts signing up medical marijuana patients
More than 100 physicians have been approved to participate, a list that's expected to grow


By Mark Scolforo, The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvanians moved a giant step closer Wednesday to being able to get marijuana to help treat their medical conditions, as the state announced the launch of its patient and caregiver registry.

The Health Department said a pilot program was successful, leading the agency to start taking applications to participate in the system.

Patients should be able to obtain the medication within six months.

Officials also said a second grower-processor has been approved to operate, in White Haven. The approval of a grower-processor in Brookville was announced earlier this month. More are expected to get the OK to start planting seeds.

The Health Department also announced more than 100 physicians have been approved to participate, a list that’s expected to grow.

Related stories
Doctor participation is considered critical to the program’s success, as they must certify the patients’ illnesses before the patients can obtain an identification card from the Health Department.

A 2016 state law gave people under a doctor’s care access to medical marijuana if a physician says they suffer from an illness on a list of 17 qualifying conditions.

Those conditions include AIDS, autism, cancer, chronic pain and Crohn’s disease.

The law permits marijuana as pills, oils, vapor or liquid but not in plant form, and patients may not grow their own.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Busy debut: 1,000 sign-ups for Pennsylvania medical marijuana program on first day


HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health says more than 1,000 people signed up for the state’s new medical marijuana program on its first day.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the registrations include patients and caregivers, according to a health department spokesman.

Related: Meet Pennsylvania’s unlikely “Pastor for Pot”

The department announced Wednesday that it was accepting applications to participate in the system.

Pennsylvania news
A 2016 state law gives people under a doctor’s care access to medical marijuana if they suffer from an illness on a list of 17 qualifying conditions, including AIDS, autism, cancer, chronic pain and Crohn’s disease.

The law permits pills, oils, vapor or liquid marijuana, but not marijuana in plant form.

Doctors must certify the illness and patients must obtain an identification card from the health department. There are more than 50 dispensaries approved for selling cannabis products to patients.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member


Pennsylvania starts signing up medical marijuana patients


Pennsylvanians moved a giant step closer Wednesday to being able to get marijuana to help treat medical conditions, as the state announced the launch of its patient and caregiver registry .

The Health Department said a pilot program was successful, leading the agency to start taking applications from people to participate in the system through a new dedicated website .

Patients are expected to be able to obtain the medication by May 1, the current target date by which the department has said it will announce its availability statewide.

Officials also said a second grower-processor has been approved to operate, in White Haven. The approval of a grower-processor in Brookville was announced earlier this month. Ten more are expected to get the OK to start planting seeds.

The Health Department also announced more than 100 physicians have been approved to participate, a list that’s expected to grow, as nearly 200 more are in the pipeline to take the required state training.

Doctor participation is considered critical to the program’s success because they must certify patients’ illnesses before the patients can obtain an identification card from the Health Department.

A 2016 state law gave people under a doctor’s care access to medical marijuana if a physician says they suffer from an illness on a list of 17 qualifying conditions . Those conditions include AIDS, autism, cancer, chronic pain and Crohn’s disease.

None of the dispensaries where patients will be able to buy medical marijuana have so far received the state’s approval.

At a news conference to announce the developments, Adrienne Leasa of Hummelstown said daily cannabis use has helped with conditions she described as late-stage HIV and depression. The state program will further improve her life, Leasa said.

“It will make me no longer a criminal, first of all,” Leasa said. “Second, it will make it easier to find specialized products that are not always available on the black market.”

State Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, a prime sponsor of the law, said it was “surreal” to see the program so far along. He praised the efforts of grassroots activists who pushed for years to get the Legislature to act, many of them parents of sick children.

“We are on the verge of getting the program up and running and I am looking forward to when this valuable medicine — and I mean medicine — will be in patients’ hands,” Folmer said. The law permits marijuana in the form of pills, oils, vapor or liquid but not in plant form, and patients may not grow their own.

For now, the state has issued 324 “safe harbor” letters that insulate parents from criminal charges if they are obtaining the drug for their sick child.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
This is a complete outrage on so many levels. First, there is HIPPA and anybody's status as a medical patient is Protected Health and Personal Information (PHI/PPI). Then there is the citing below of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals....that very liberal and non-gun loving circuit. Not sure that their view is the final one and I expect this to go to SCOTUS if those cowards will accept a case.

Now this I don't get:

"The ATF sent a letter saying as much to firearms sellers in 2011, Price noted. Answer "yes" on the form, and the retailer won't even run the background check, which will look at the database of medical marijuana cardholders, he said."
What fucking database of state card holders is accessible by the National Instant Crime System? Huh? If this is true, a ton of law suits are waiting in the wings.



Can medical marijuana users have firearms? Police say no

By Kurt Bresswein

kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com,

For lehighvalleylive.com

As Pennsylvania prepares to issue medical marijuana cards by year's end, patients will find firearms out of their reach, state and federal law enforcement authorities say.

At issue is the federal classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug -- one with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," the same as heroin and LSD and other hallucinogens, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana used for medicinal or recreational purposes," said Special Agent Joshua E. Jackson, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, D.C.

Pennsylvania attorneys specializing in medical marijuana law told lehighvalleylive.com they were surprised firearms ownership is an issue at all with patients. Steve Schain, whose Hoban Law Group is "100 percent devoted to cannabis and hemp law," said the program was created by state law, and there is no mention of firearms.

"I don't think anybody's going to bring it up," said Andrew Sacks, managing partner at Sacks Weston Diamond LLC in Philadelphia.




See who in the Lehigh Valley can prescribe marijuana

Pennsylvania is targeting May 1, 2018, for statewide availability of medical cannabis products.

The trouble is, it's an automatic "no" when a legitimate medical marijuana user applies for a background check to purchase or transfer a firearm or obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm, according to the ATF and Pennsylvania State Police.

The federal background check form was amended in the past year to explicitly point out the no-exceptions federal prohibition, said Major Scott C. Price, state police director of the Bureau of Records and Identification.

"Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug or any other controlled substance?" questions 11e reads on the ATF Form 4473. "Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside."

The ATF sent a letter saying as much to firearms sellers in 2011, Price noted. Answer "yes" on the form, and the retailer won't even run the background check, which will look at the database of medical marijuana cardholders, he said.

"So in fact an individual who is issued a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania who is a user of medical marijuana, that individual would be prohibited from purchasing or technically possession of a firearm under federal law," Price said Tuesday.


Handguns are displayed for sale March 31, 2016, at a store in Jersey City. Federal law prohibits firearms sales to users of marijuana, including those with medical prescriptions, authorities say. (NJ Advance Media file photo | For lehighvalleylive.com)
This firearms prohibition is gaining recognition in Pennsylvania as the state prepares to issue prescription cards. As of Nov. 16, more than 6,000 patients registered to receive cannabis for the treatment of symptoms of any of 17 approved conditions, according to the state Department of Health.

Holders of the $50 state medical marijuana ID card are expected to be able to purchase cannabis products from approved dispensaries beginning in 2018. The prohibition on purchasing firearms does not apply to medical marijuana caregivers, who can obtain cannabis products for up to five patients.

Beyond Pennsylvania, this is an issue getting national attention, with 29 states plus the District of Columbia creating medical marijuana programs.

In Hawaii, the Honolulu Police Department has taken the prohibition a step further by sending letters to medical marijuana patients ordering the voluntary "surrender" of their guns, leafly.com reports.

Last year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the federal ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana cardholders does not violate the Second Amendment, The Associated Press reports.

Setting a precedent only in nine western states, the ruling notes "medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative.

"They also may be less likely than other illegal drug users to interact with law enforcement officers or make purchases through illicit channels," it continues. "But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress' reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated."


This copy of the ATF Form 4473 used in firearms background checks has been enhanced to highlight the question explaining that medical and recreational marijuana approved at the state level is still illegal under federal law. (Courtesy image | For lehighvalleylive.com)
Sacks, the Philadelphia attorney who is chairman of his firm's Medical Marijuana and Hemp Department, said there's a gray area in play here that he expects will take a legal challenge to resolve in states like Pennsylvania not subject to the 9th Circuit ruling.

Medical marijuana is specially formulated based on a patient's needs, and in some cases contains compounds different from the tetrahydrocannabinol that gets users high, he noted.

"There's just too many gun owners in this state and they love hunting," for the prohibition to go unchallenged, Sacks said.




Pennsylvania set record for firearms checks in 2016

Checks for purchases or transfers of firearms and licenses to carry concealed rose 15 percent over 2015.

Price, with the state police, said blocking illegal gun sales is the top concern in checking buyers' backgrounds. Secondarily, it's up to the local district attorney to decide whether to prosecute falsifications on the form, a felony under the state Uniform Firearms Act.

Asked whether the ATF is looking to seize firearms lawfully purchased prior to becoming a medical marijuana patient, Jackson, the special agent, said: "ATF is not in a position to speculate on future enforcement actions. Each case is treated independently and evaluated on its own merits.

"Any criminal investigation or prosecution will be based upon a fair and transparent fact-intensive inquiry of individual cases."
 

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