Historic Day for Medical Marijuana in Pa.
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Historic Day for Medical Marijuana in Pa.
Posted by CN Staff on August 02, 2018 at 05:57:02 PT
By Sam Wood, Staff Writer 
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania -- Thom Shannon was the first in line. The medical marijuana dispensary on Old York Road in Abington wouldn’t open its doors for nine more hours. But Shannon, 43, already had been waiting 20 years.“I was a little premature, but this day is kinda historic,” said Shannon, a burly former executive chef. “I thought this day would never come.” “Dry leaf” marijuana went on sale Wednesday morning at 16 dispensaries across the state. Additional dispensaries will begin stocking it over the next week. Also known as “flower” or “bud,” dry leaf is the form of the medicine that is the most affordable and familiar to patients and recreational users alike.
A line of 100 people snaked around the TerraVida Holistic Center in Abington before the dispensary, a former animal hospital, opened its doors at 10 a.m. As Chris Visco, TerraVida’s co-owner, handed out doughnuts to the waiting throng, cheers erupted as patients were called inside.Shannon, wearing an orange plaid shirt and khaki shorts, had his run of the store. He zeroed in on 10 different varieties that were packaged as single grams in opaque plastic bags. Though the bags were hermetically sealed, for the first time the TerraVida dispensary was perfumed with the lemony, skunky scent of unprocessed cannabis.“I bought Star Killer, Hash Haze, Lemon G, Mob Boss, and a bunch of others,” said Shannon, who suffers from chronic pain brought on by herniated discs and fibromyalgia. “Traditional medicines helped to some degree, but the opioids, Xanax and other benzos I was taking had only limited effect and were highly addictive.”Shannon, who left Aramark to become a stay-at-home dad in Glenside, said the prescription pharmaceuticals made it difficult to take care of his children, ages 6 and 2. “For years, we watched a lot of TV,” he said. “Now my oldest son recognizes the difference. Cannabis gives me a boost and focus. I’m more active and can play face-to-face with my kids on the floor.”By noon at TerraVida, several strains had sold out. Terrapin’s Princess Leia — an inexpensive variety turbocharged with 21.6 percent of the psychoactive molecule THC — had flown off the shelves.There was plenty left to choose from on the menu.“Our next biggest seller is Salmon River OG, by Holistic Farms,” said Visco. “We’ve only sold flower today, not one other thing. And we’ll still have other strains that will last through the rest of the week. ”Dispensaries across the state reported brisk sales. At Restore Integrative Wellness Center in Fishtown, patients bought as much as they were allowed, a maximum of 15 grams a week.“The cheaper price points sold out in the first 45 minutes we were open,” said Restore’s manager, Rob Stanley, who said stores were allotted 15 pounds of flower. “We have enough of everything. We might run a little low, but we’ll have plenty. We’ve already done 90 patients in the first two hours.”Shannon may have been the first patient to buy flower in Abington. But in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, another set of patients had a 10-hour jump on him.In King of Prussia, Keystone Shops opened at 12:01 a.m. to become the first in the state to sell flower. A parking lot celebration heralded the opening with a DJ, free pizza and hoagies for patients and their friends. After the countdown to midnight, nearly 100 patients streamed through the doors before Keystone closed shortly after 2 a.m., only to reopen at 10.“We’re swamped right now,” Keystone’s manager, Mike Badey, said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve sold out of a few strains. Lemon G and Bio Jesus are both very popular. I’m running off about 70 minutes of sleep. But it’s all worth it, though.We’re super thrilled.”The state launched its medical marijuana program in mid-February with the sale of highly processed cannabis oils, tinctures, lotions and pills. After a bumpy start and product shortages, the state program has steadied itself. The state Department of Health has certified about 32,000 patients to participate.Processed products are more expensive than marijuana in its raw state. Patients complained about the cost. Many on fixed-incomes, the elderly and disabled, could not afford the medicines, which are not covered by insurance.Whatever you call it — dry leaf, flower, whole plant, or bud — raw cannabis is cheaper. Some of the varieties sold Wednesday for as little as $12 a gram. The less expensive, and more familiar form of the medicine, prompted a wave of new faces to visit some of the retail outlets.“It seems like there have been a bunch of new patients coming in who had been holding off, saving their money for the flower,” said Lou Giannotti, pharmacist at the Liberty dispensary on Krewstown Road in the city’s Bustleton section. “They may have been hesitant to try the oils because they didn’t understand it. They’re more comfortable with the flower.”To make the medicines more affordable, the state granted permission to several dispensaries on Wednesday to offer discounts of about 10 percent to veterans and seniors, said Health Department spokesman Nate Wardel. Previously, all discounts and specials were prohibited.Traditionally, flower is smoked. Pennsylvania state law forbids combustion and requires patients to vaporize it with special devices.Melinda Long, 49, uses a “volcano” to consume her medical cannabis.“It’s kinda like a hookah,” she said. “I’d prefer to use a pipe or a bong, but in Pennsylvania you can’t. You’re not allowed to smoke joints, either.”Long, who was sixth in line at TerraVida when she arrived in the rain at 7 a.m., uses the drug to help her sleep through the pain of her osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. While waiting, she saw people crying.“There were suits and soccer moms there and everyone was happy,” Long said. “Some had tears of joy.”For 17 years, she had been prescribed Vicodin and Ultram. She said she used marijuana to wean herself off the pain meds. At TerraVida, Long bought 9 grams of different flower packages.At home in Hatboro, she vaporized a strain called Outer Space.“I was in pain. And I felt better immediately,” Long said. “I cleaned the house! My whole outlook is clearer.“I may sound all happy and giddy about it, but that’s because I don’t have to deal with the feeling of being on the pills anymore,” she said.“I only wish Pennsylvania had done this a lot sooner.”Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)Author: Sam Wood, Staff Writer Published: August 1, 2018Copyright: 2018 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.URL: Inquirer.Letters phillynews.comCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #15 posted by FoM on August 16, 2018 at 09:21:04 PT
I am sorry to hear you were hit by a Tesla. I hope you are doing OK. We are winning and in time after supply becomes more then demand the price will come down.
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Comment #14 posted by herbdoc215 on August 16, 2018 at 02:40:37 PT
Thanks all and still been in the fight 
I've been living in OC, Cali working at for long time while dealing with bunch of old health issues from my adventure in Canada and been under to many NDA's to comment much but all should know what is happening is both a condition of the nuts running DC now and lack of industry prep before laws were passed as the new pesticide problems and tests are showing that growing large amounts of quality cannabis is not as easy as advertised for so many years and greed now rules the entire cannabis industry it seems as back when we did it we thought we was breaking ground and subject to jail and only thing these new fly-by night businesses are worried about is bottom line but I truly believe when this all works out the creme will rise and rules/laws will sort all this out! We just need to guard THC from the pharma takeover CBD is fixing to see in coming month! Much cool stuff coming soon as am dodging the neck surgeon now so might have some time in future if he catches me as got ran over by a tesla in Jan? Glad to see you all are still at the wheel and well.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on August 09, 2018 at 09:40:40 PT
Thank you. We auctioned my sisters home and content and next will be settlement then I finish paying the estate bills and distribute the money that is left to her 6 living children and then I will be done. I waived all fees since this is a labor of love for my sister. I pray for our country. The hate is overwhelming coming from the extreme right. They seem to be afraid that we won't be a white nation much longer and that is true but I sure don't care. I believe the world would be boring without the diversity of the people we have.
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Comment #12 posted by afterburner on August 09, 2018 at 09:13:12 PT
FoM, I Gladly Join Stop the Madness Prayer Line
I hope that more will begin to See the Light and Respect other Countrypeople especially those they Disagree with. Let Freedom of Speech ring. I have played that same Neil Diamond song several times since I posted it to encourage myself to continue the good fight for the country of the American Dream.I was encouraged by the results of the primary Tuesday. All but two of my candidates won. Those other two were in second place. Bring on November, not too quickly though. I still have a lot of summer yet to enjoy, too hot though it may be. We're at that age for settling estates. One of my brothers several years ago, another last year and a mother-in-law last year as well. A neighbor is going through it this year, a wife and a sister. It's a very time consuming process and very hard on the children. My condolences on your loss.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on August 09, 2018 at 05:34:14 PT
I listened and watched the Neil Diamond song and it made me so sad to see what we have become. I can't believe what is happening to our country. The more I see on my news channels that I watch (not Fox ever) the more depressing it makes me feel. I find it so hard to believe the hate I see towards people who are inclusive the more I want to withdraw into my own safe country world. I pray we can stop this madness soon. 
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on August 09, 2018 at 05:21:42 PT
It is so wonderful seeing you. I have been so busy with family issues wrapping up my sister's estate after a long and tough road that I just saw your comment. I do not understand what is going on in Canada or any of the legal states. I did see something that was encouraging last night that the price is dropping to as low as $60 an ounce in some states. As more and more people jump on the get rich scheme of the new industry the price will drop and make it affordable for more people then it has been and for that I am grateful.
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on August 06, 2018 at 17:41:22 PT
My Country 'tis of Thee Sweet Land of Liberty
Neil Diamond - Coming to America we forget: this is the America I grew up believing in with the friends, neighbors and families that made the USA a dynamic and shining beacon of freedom and liberty to a world in chains.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on August 06, 2018 at 14:47:26 PT
So good to hear from you, herbdoc215.
I, too hope you're well and thriving.It looks like prohibitionists are fanged in and hanging. The are still practicing their mischief and hoping for, and causing mayhem, even where it is supposed to be legal. 
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on August 06, 2018 at 05:43:36 PT
herbdoc215 #6
Nice to hear from you Steve. I wish the circumstances were better for both Ontario and Cali. We wouldn't even have the Medical Cannabis program here in Canada without your gift of seeds and the various court challenges. I too have been watching in horror the corporate take over and the punitive so-called legalization here in Canada and in Cali. I hope you are well. We still have a long struggle ahead just to get the governments to do it right with Social Justice.God bless.
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Comment #6 posted by herbdoc215 on August 06, 2018 at 00:14:22 PT
I was worried the Liquor people would fight Ford 
I've been horrified watching what Canada is doing of trading one wobbler for 14 felonies with teeth and time and calling it legalization just like the horror of watching 64 eat medical cannabis up here in Cali now due to greed on all sides! Hello everybody and hope your all well. Steve
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on August 03, 2018 at 07:34:06 PT
That is terrible!
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Comment #4 posted by afterburner on August 03, 2018 at 07:33:22 PT
History of "The Night of Broken Glass"
World War II. 
The Night of Broken Glass
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on August 02, 2018 at 13:05:30 PT
Breaking News
Eyewitness account: A cannabis dispensary in Hamilton, Ontario Canada appears to be the victim of a fire bombing. Police and investigator are on scene right now. I hope this is not a copycat of the night of broken glass in Nazi Germany.
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on August 02, 2018 at 11:12:33 PT
We Are Becoming a Healthier Nation, Gram by Gram
People do not want to be pill zombies. They want to use the God-given natural medicine. Next step, change the federal law that discourages natural medicine.Dispensaries in Canada are advertising $5 grams even before the legal rollout on October 17, 2017, i.e., now.Also, the new Progressive Conservative provincial government of Ontario under Doug Ford has already announced it's plan to allow private sector stores to sell legal cannabis. The only rub, so far, is their plan to allow only cannabis from Licenced Producers to be sold. LPs area required to use gamma radiation. We would rather have USDA corganic, free of radiation.Woohoo!
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on August 02, 2018 at 08:09:42 PT
Congratulations Pennsylvania
I think that the prices are too high. The least expensive product is $12 a gram. That is $336 an oz. They have it though, and that’s the most important thing. Hopefully prices will edge downward over time.
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