Governor Wolf: Legalization Of Adult-Use Cannabis Can Lead To Economic Gains And Restorative Justice For Pennsylvanians

PENNSYLVANIA:  Governor Tom Wolf visited The Mountain Center in Tobyhanna, Monroe County today to talk about the economic growth potential and restorative justice benefits of legalizing adult-use cannabis, something the state General Assembly has not yet done despite multiple requests from the governor and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman to take up legislation this fall.

“This year, I again went to the General Assembly and asked them to make legalizing adult-use cannabis a priority for the fall as we work to find ways to overcome the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gov. Wolf said. “To date, there has been no movement to advance legislation. So, I’m here today to ask again, and to focus on two particular benefits of legalization – potential economic growth and much-needed restorative justice.”

The governor described how legalizing adult-use cannabis offers the same potential for economic growth that the historic farm bill of 2018 did for hemp farming after decades of government prohibition of the industry.

Hemp was once a widespread crop in Pennsylvania, cultivated in the commonwealth for more than 250 years and grown for seeds, fibers and extracts. Though they look similar, the governor was quick to point out that hemp is not marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are two different varieties of the same plant species, but hemp does not contain high levels of THC, the chemical that makes marijuana a controlled substance.

“Much of our knowledge about how to grow, process and use hemp was lost after industrial hemp was regulated and banned along with marijuana in the 1930s,” Wolf said. “And Pennsylvania lost the benefits of an industry with a long history of providing jobs and resources here in the commonwealth. When hemp and marijuana were banned, we didn’t just lose jobs, we lost decades of research opportunities, innovation and economic growth.”

The governor was joined by Representative Maureen Madden and hemp farmer Eric Titus White.

White described how his hemp farm has provided him with economic opportunities along with a chance to literally put down roots in his home state of Pennsylvania.

“The cannabis plant is capable of stimulating our economy, healing our soil, and bringing the focus back to natural medicine and natural farming,” White said.

“I fully support the administration’s efforts to introduce the legalization of adult recreational cannabis in such a way that invests much-needed financial resources in our underserved communities and enacts restorative justice programs throughout the Commonwealth,” Rep. Madden said.

Monroe County Senator John Blake offered his support for adult-use cannabis legalization.

“I appreciate the work of the Governor and the Lt. Governor to gauge public support for the legalization of adult use cannabis and also to weigh the potential economic benefit of legalization in PA,” Blake said. “Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program has proven to be among the best in the nation and I believe strongly that many of the protocols, regimens and controls could be replicated to ensure positive economic benefit and proper regulation of adult-use cannabis in our Commonwealth.”

Along with stressing that legalizing adult-use cannabis will create economic growth opportunities, the governor focused on how cannabis criminalization laws have disproportionately harmed minority communities in Pennsylvania, and contributed to economic harm and trauma in historically disadvantaged areas of the state.

“Every year in Pennsylvania, another 20,000 people get cannabis-related criminal charges that can keep them from getting the jobs and housing they want,” said Lt. Gov. Fetterman. “It’s time we stop ruining people’s futures over something that’s already legal in several states and something that most Pennsylvanians don’t even think should be illegal.”

“We are taking steps to reverse the injustices caused by marijuana criminalization,” Gov. Wolf said. “In 2018, I signed the Clean Slate bill, which allows for the sealing of records for certain low-level offenses if a person has been free from convictions for ten years. That law can be applied to certain marijuana-related offenses, and the Board of Pardons has expedited pardons for low-level marijuana offenses. But there is much more that needs to be done to reverse decades of injustice. And we need to start by decriminalizing cannabis and legalizing it for adult use.”

Trusted Medical Cannabis Health Care Leaders Compassionate Certification Centers And MarijuanaDoctors.com Partner to Provide CBD Products to Patients

PENNSYLVANIA: Trusted health care leaders Compassionate Certification Centers, a physician-owned medical cannabis network, and MarijuanaDoctors.com, a digital portal and resource for cannabis patients, today announced they have partnered to distribute a co-branded, non-THC, CBD product line nationwide.

Marijuana-Doctors-LogoWhen Compassionate Certification Centers debuted its CBD line last year, MarijuanaDoctors.com recognized the brand as one of the few reputable and reliable sources for quality CBD and patient care.

Our brand is medical grade CBD that is triple-tested and affordably priced. With thousands of patients safely taking our products and testing negative for THC on their drug screens, we are glad to be a trusted and reliable option,” stated Compassionate Certification Centers CEO Melonie Kotchey.

Made in the U.S., the CBD line contains premium botanical oils derived from organic, all-natural ingredients. The Compassionate Certification Centers brand aligned with the core philosophies at MarijuanaDoctors.com, a commitment to compliance and integrity.

“We researched dozens of CBD companies and found over 80 percent don’t contain what is printed on their labels. Compassionate Certification Centers has developed a cutting-edge product that meets the needs and goals of our network of over 425,000 registered patients,” stated Ray Correa, Chief Operating Officer of MarijuanaDoctors.com.

Under the partnership, MarijuanaDoctors.com and Compassionate Certification Centers will distribute a co-branded, THC-free, CBD line across their platforms. MarijuanaDoctors.com will offer the products for purchase online as well as a wholesale offering for its national network of medical practitioners.

“We define success by the magnitude of the beneficial footprint we leave on society,” commented Correa. “By being patient-centric and collaborating with those that share these values, we are confident the market will welcome this partnership with a warm reception.”

MarijuanaDoctors.com is a digital portal for patients, providing visibility and transparency on medical cannabis physicians and alternative healthcare options.

Compassionate Certification Centers is a physician-led organization providing medical cannabis evaluations and certifications with offices throughout Pennsylvania. The health care network is listed on MarijuanaDoctors.com as a reliable and safe resource for patients and has an established five-star rating.

Cresco Labs Opens Third Pittsburgh Area Dispensary

PENNSYLVANIA: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, has announced the opening of a CY+ dispensary in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. To commemorate the opening, Cresco welcomed Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman to cut the ceremonial ribbon and to speak about the opioid crisis plaguing the state and Cresco’s role in advancing medicinal cannabis as a safe and accessible alternative for patients. With New Kensington as the third CY+ dispensary to open in Pennsylvania, Cresco has licenses for three more dispensaries planned to open during the second quarter of 2019.

“We are excited to open our third CY+ dispensary in the growing Pennsylvania market and to be the first in the Pittsburgh metro area to launch our online ordering feature,” said Cresco Labs CEO and co-founder Charlie Bachtell. “Patients across the state can reserve their orders online and enjoy convenient and easy access to their selected medicines at three dispensaries in Pennsylvania with three more planned for the first half of this year. These firsts in the state of Pennsylvania underscore our mission to normalize and professionalize the cannabis experience for customers across a multitude of market segments.”

Cresco Labs first entered the Pennsylvania market in February 2018 with the opening of its Butler retail dispensary, making the first ever legal sale of cannabis under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Cresco’s flagship location in Pennsylvania, which opened in June 2018, is located in the historic Strip District of the city of Pittsburgh. Cresco also operates a state-of-the-art cultivation facility in the city of Brookeville.

“We’re creating a retail experience that matches the varied needs of our patients,” Bachtell continued. “We are incorporating technology that can help patients get the product they want when they want it, and without the wait. In conjunction with our New Kensington dispensary, we are also launching our RESERVE branded product in Pennsylvania, delivering a premium and exclusive cannabis experience based on years of selective plant breeding. Our CY+ dispensaries carry a high-quality selection of products such as dry leaf, vape pens and cartridges, oral sprays, pills, topicals, and transdermal patches from growers across the state. We are deeply committed to solidifying our market leadership in one of the most attractive and highly coveted markets in the country and expanding the relief we provide to patients in that state.”

Pennsylvania operates as a high-barrier market with very limited market participation. Retail sales opened in February 2018 to a limited number of retail locations across the state. Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market is expected to become one of the biggest markets in the U.S., according to Marijuana Business Daily, January 2018. Cresco Labs operates as Cresco Yeltrah in Pennsylvania.

First Year Of Medical Marijuana Helps 83,000 Pennsylvanians

PENNSYLVANIA: The Wolf Administration today announced that in its first year the state’s medical marijuana program has helped 83,000 Pennsylvanians access this vital medication, which was dispensed nearly 600,000 times at approved dispensaries across the state.

“The first year that the state’s medical marijuana program has been operational tells us that this program is working to help Pennsylvanians in need of this medication,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “Patients are realizing the benefits and there has been steady, positive progress that I am pleased to report.”

In addition to patients, nearly 1,000 physicians are now approved to certify patients to participant in the program. More than 1,460 physicians have registered to be certified.

“Our goal for the next year and beyond is to increase the number of grower/processors and dispensaries operating, to register even more physicians and to continue the growth of our scientific, medically based program,” Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

The medical marijuana program has permitted 25 grower/processors and 50 dispensaries, the maximum allowed under the law. All Phase I grower/processors are operational, and 45 dispensary locations are operational and dispensing product.

More than 116,000 patients in Pennsylvania have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program. The approximately 83,000 who have purchased medical marijuana at a dispensary already have their identification cards.

The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Gov. Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has:

  • Completed temporary regulations to enact the program;
  • Convened the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board;
  • Approved six training providers for physician continuing education;
  • Approved four laboratories to test medication before it is delivered to patients;
  • Registered more than 116,000 patients and issued more than 83,000 identification cards;
  • Validated nearly 600,000 dispensing events;
  • Issued 25 grower/processors permits, 12 of which are operational;
  • Issued 50 dispensary permits and approved 45 locations to begin operations; and
  • Certified eight medical schools as Academic Clinical Research Centers.

The program offers medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under an approved practitioner’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law.

Medical marijuana grossed more than $132 million in total sales one year after the official start of product being sold. The commonwealth collected more than $2 million in tax revenue to date from grower/processors.

For more information about the medical marijuana program, visit www.medicalmarijuana.pa.gov or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter.

Pennsylvania Issues Permits For Phase II Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

PENNSYLVANIA: The Pennsylvania Department of Health today issued 23 dispensary permits for Phase II of the medical marijuana program. The permittees will now have six months in which to become operational before they can begin dispensing medical marijuana.

“The permitting of these locations as part of Phase II of the medical marijuana program will ensure more people have access to medical marijuana close to home,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Medical marijuana is an essential form of treatment for Pennsylvanians suffering from one of 21 serious medical conditions. This step continues the growth of our scientific, medically-based medical marijuana program.”

Once all Phase II dispensaries are operational, there will be a total of 79 dispensaries located throughout the commonwealth. Each of the dispensary permit holders is eligible to open a total of three locations. Some dispensary permit holders have opted not to open all eligible locations at this time. A complete list of operational dispensary locations is available on the Department of Health website at www.medicalmarijuana.pa.gov.

The 23 permits were issued to:

Southeast Region

Restore Integrative Wellness Center LLC

Cresco Yeltrah, LLC

Franklin BioScience – SE, LLC

Harvest of Southeast PA, LLC

PharmaCann Penn LLC

MLH Explorations, LLC

CB Health Services, LLC

Agape Total Health Care, INC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Northeast Region

Pennsylvania Dispensary Solutions LLC

Franklin BioScience – NE, LLC

Harvest of Northeast PA, LLC

Southcentral Region

Harvest of South Central PA, LLC

Local Dispensaries, LLC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Northcentral Region

Harvest of North Central PA, LLC

PharmaCann Penn LLC

Southwest Region

Franklin BioScience – SW, LLC

Harvest of Southwest PA, LLC

Sunrise Organic Wellness LLC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Northwest Region

Harvest of Northwest PA, LLC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

More than 98,000 patients in Pennsylvania have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, and over 66,000 have identification cards and are able to purchase medical marijuana at a dispensary. Approximately 1,380 physicians have registered for the program, 945 of whom have been approved as practitioners.

The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has:

  • Completed temporary regulations to enact the program;
  • Convened the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board;
  • Approved six training providers for physician continuing education;
  • Approved four laboratories to test medication before it is delivered to patients;
  • Registered more than 98,000 patients and issued more than 66,000 identification cards;
  • Validated over 364,000 dispensing events;
  • Issued 25 grower/processor permits, 12 of which are operational;
  • Issued 50 dispensary permits and approved 43 locations to begin operations; and
  • Certified eight medical schools as Academic Clinical Research Centers.

The medical marijuana program offers medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a practitioner’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law.

Cresco Labs Wins Second License In Pennsylvania For Three Additional Dispensaries

ILLINOIS: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the United States, today announced that it has been awarded a second merit-based license for dispensary operations in Pennsylvania. The permit allows Cresco Labs six months in which to become operational before it can begin dispensing medical marijuana. The Company is licensed for three dispensaries under its second license.

Screenshot 2018-12-19 06.18.13“Our marquee platform in Pennsylvania showcases our success as the first cultivator to bring branded products to market, the first dispensary approved to open, and the first sale of product to a customer in that state’s program,” said Charles Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs. “We are extremely proud of our accomplishments in Pennsylvania and look forward to continuing to provide relief to patients as we open three new dispensaries. After New Kensington, we plan to open our fourth Pennsylvania dispensary in Reading and then expand into the southeast region of the state.”

The Pennsylvania medical marijuana program was signed into law in early 2016 and provides access to state residents with one of 17 qualifying conditions, including epilepsy, chronic pain, and PTSD. Following Cresco Labs’ successful win in the state’s first highly competitive application process, the Company first entered the Pennsylvania market in February 2018 with the opening of its Butler retail dispensary, making the first ever legal sale of cannabis under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Cresco’s flagship location in Pennsylvania, which opened in June 2018, is located in the historic Strip District of the city of Pittsburgh. The Company expects to open its third Pennsylvania dispensary in New Kensington during the first quarter of 2019. Under terms of its first license, Cresco Labs also operates a cultivation facility in Brookville, PA and the products manufactured there are on the shelves of every dispensary in the state.

“Winning merit-based state application processes is the first part of our two-pronged growth strategy, complementing our focus on strategic acquisitions of assets in established regulated markets with high growth potential and barriers to entry,” Bachtell added. “This second license win in Pennsylvania allows us to continue to build our market leadership in one of the most attractive and highly coveted markets in the country and to expand the relief we provide to patients in that state.”

Pennsylvania operates as a high-barrier market with very limited market participation. Retail sales opened in February 2018 to a limited number of retail locations across the state. Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market is expected to become one of the biggest markets in the U.S.1 and due to the rapid acceleration of cannabis demand in Pennsylvania, Cresco Labs is currently implementing a 70,000 square foot expansion that will provide an additional 45,000 square feet of cultivation space at their Brookville facility.

In the state of Pennsylvania, Cresco Labs does business as Cresco Yeltrah.

 

Activists To Celebrate 4 Years Of Philadelphia Marijuana Decriminalization At City Hall

PENNSYLVANIA: Cannabis consumers will gather at Philadelphia City Hall on Saturday, October 20, 2018 to participate in a Pop Up Weed Garden to celebrate a bit more liberty for the plant.

Four years ago, Philadelphia Police (PPD) began issuing civil fine tickets in lieu of a criminal arrest for small amounts of marijuana.  Jeanine Campbell with South Philly NORML said, “We’re celebrating because this day marked the beginning of a new era of cannabis reform in Philadelphia.”

The bill was championed by Jim Kenney, who at this time was the at-large City Councilor, and passed with a super-majority. Mayor Michael Nutter signed the bill on October 1, 2014,  and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey implemented the new procedure on October 20, 2014.

Instead of handcuffs and prosecution, those found in possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis or 8 grams of hash/concentrates are written a $25 Code Violation Notice (CVN). Smoking in public gets a $100 CVN fine.

Arrests of cannabis consumers immediately plummeted from more than 5,000 per year to less than 600. This means there have been nearly 20,000 fewer people bought into the criminal justice system over small amounts of weed. Budget savings are estimated at more than $16 million since the ordinance went into effect.

This year, newly elected District Attorney Larry Krasner announced his office would no longer charge anyone with a crime – even if they are still arrested – over a decriminalized amount of cannabis. Activists have marked the shift from the first day when U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran and legalization advocate Mike Whiter met with a PPD officer at City Hall to receive the first ticket.

Two years later, on October 20, 2016, a “Pop Up Weed Garden” was staged in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Eakins’ Oval. Hundreds of cannabis consumers celebrated the plant, and a hint of newfound freedom.

This year,  advocates who worked on the effort, including Chris Goldstein, will gather at City Hall on Saturday, October 20th to mark the occasion with local consumers at 4:20 PM. Goldstein said, “It’s time for Philadelphia to begin charting the path forward for full legalization. There are hundreds of thousands of cannabis consumers here in Philly,” said Goldstein, “It’s time to begin offering safe marijuana products at a low price, and allowing home cultivation.”

Philadelphia’s 2014 decriminalization shift inspired other cities to downgrade possession fines and penalties. Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, Bethlehem, Allentown, Erie, State College, and Lancaster have passed ordinances. The PA House Judiciary recently approved HB928 to consider the move statewide.

Meanwhile, reports from the Philadelphia Inquirer and Newark Star-Ledger have shown a recent spike in marijuana possession arrests in communities that maintain criminal prohibition.

Advocates remain hopeful that a full legalization effort, spearheaded by Rep. Jake Wheatley (D- Allegheny), will gain momentum in 2019.


CONTACT: Chris Goldstein (267) 702 3731

 

DACO Conference To Introduce Cannabis Opportunities To Marginalized Communities

PENNSYLVANIA: The Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO) will host the 2018 Cannabis Opportunities Conference on the theme Seeking Higher Ground and Equity in the Industry at the Temple University Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA on October 19-20, 2018.

The purpose of the conference will be to demystify the profession and culture of the cannabis industry in minority and marginalized communities of the US and globally in the African diaspora, while recreating a narrative of opportunities and restorative justice for the growth of the community in light of the massive shifts and associated stigma of the cannabis industry. Presenters and legislators including PA State Senator Sharif Street, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, NJ Senator Cory Booker, and keynote speaker Dr Chanda Macias will participate at the conference on select panels and workshops to discuss current laws, opportunities, restorative justice and cannabis reform. The DACO conference will also feature an exhibition hall and job fair.

DACO Conference

“The cannabis industry is rapidly growing, expected to hit $31.4 billion by 2021 and if legalized for adult use a single US state such as Pennsylvania can stand to gain $581 million in tax revenue. The economic opportunities it creates will be limitless however many are unaware of its economic benefits especially African Americans and Latinos in the US who make up less than 20% of all business owners. African and Caribbean nations have been lagging behind Western nations with respect to cannabis legalization and regulation. With this forum, we aim to help reduce the stigma and introduce cannabis opportunities to marginalized communities throughout the African diaspora and open the dialogue for opportunities in education, wellness, social justice, policy, entrepreneurship, and workforce development,” explains Cherron Perry-Thomas, Director of Social Impact at The Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO), organizers of the conference.

The 2-day conference will be held in a “Ted Talk” Style where speakers including cannabis owners, entrepreneurs and advocates will share their experiences focusing on wellness, business development and legislative success. There will also be a panels and breakout sessions allowing for more discussion on various subjects from the history of the criminalization of cannabis to workforce education, simple investing and advocacy engagement.

“The Cannabis Opportunities conference is essentially a safe space where people can network, learn and exchange ideas. We want this to be a forum for the many who may feel shut out due to finances, stigmatization and lack of education on the cannabis industry and opportunities and how this information can empower them economically,” adds Perry-Thomas.

The DACO 2018 Cannabis Opportunities Conference will be a platform to bring global cannabis experts and community stakeholders together to learn about trends in the emerging cannabis industry with topics aimed to educate and empower marginalized communities. The conference will be free for attendees wand materials will be bilingual (English/Spanish).

Free with registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-cannabis-opportunity-conference-tickets-48903615029?ref=estw

For more info, visit: www.wearedaco.com Social Media @wearedaco

PA Representative Wheatley To Introduce Legislation To Legalize Marijuana

PENNSYLVANIA:  Pointing to the success similar programs are having in other states, Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said he plans to introduce legislation which would legalize the sale of marijuana in Pennsylvania.

“States from coast to coast have embraced legalization and those states are reaping the economic and criminal justice benefits,” Wheatley said. “It is time Pennsylvania joins with those states in leaving behind the ugly stigma of marijuana.”

A recent report by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale estimated that legalizing marijuana could generate more than $580 million in annual tax revenue for Pennsylvania. Nine other states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for adult use, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue while reducing spending and criminal justice costs.

“This is why it comes as no surprise that recent polling shows that a majority of Pennsylvanians support legalization,” Wheatley said. “This is an idea whose time has come.”

Wheatley’s legislation would further establish a retail market for marijuana and expunge criminal records for any marijuana-related conviction that would be considered lawful under the act.

Wheatley said marijuana legalization is the natural path forward given Pennsylvania’s successful medical marijuana program, for which more than 52,000 patients have registered. Passed in 2016, the state’s medical marijuana law provides for the use of marijuana to treat serious medical conditions such as seizures, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease, among others.

“I am pleased to see that many of our most in-need residents are able to improve their health, but I believe we can do more,” Wheatley said. “The time has come for Pennsylvania to move forward with full legalization.”#MJNews

Tikun Olam and Ilera Healthcare Announce Pennsylvania Partnership

PENNSYLVANIA and NEW YORK:  Tikun Olam, the world leader in cannabis science, and Ilera Healthcare, Pennsylvania’s premier medical marijuana cultivator, processor and dispenser, have finalized a deal to bring Tikun’s world-renowned medical marijuana strains to medical cannabis patients in the Keystone State later this year.

This partnership combines Tikun Olam’s history of peer-reviewed scientific research and unprecedented clinical data collection with Ilera’s expertise in formulating and delivering high-quality pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products to Pennsylvanians. Products developed from Tikun Olam’s proprietary strains, including its world-renowned Avidekel high-CBD strain, will be available in vape oils, tinctures and topical formulations.

Tikun Olam has created numerous cannabis strains designed to deliver symptomatic relief for specific conditions in line with the 17 medical conditions approved for medical cannabis use in Pennsylvania, including autism, cancer, PTSD, epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease/Colitis, chronic pain and neuropathy, to name a few.
“Tikun Olam has spent years developing our strains through scientific methods,” says Tikun CEO Bernie Sucher. “Finding the ideal partner that shares our focus on quality control and consistency from seed to sale was a top priority for our Pennsylvania launch, and Ilera Healthcare was our top choice.”
Greg Rochlin, CEO of Ilera Healthcare, sees this as a natural partnership. “Ilera is dedicated to producing consistent, high-quality medications with effects that are supported by data, and so is Tikun Olam.”