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1 US PA: Organ Donations From Fatal Drug Overdoses DoubleSat, 16 Dec 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Baldrige, Susan Area:Pennsylvania Lines:149 Added:12/18/2017

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) - Charles Grugan's drug addiction took a toll on his family.

They tried to help him, but on Oct. 12, 2011, Grugan 33, overdosed on heroin. He never recovered.

While on life support in a regional hospital, doctors approached his family and showed them his driver's license.

Grugan had made the decision to be an organ donor when he was 18 years old.

His heart, liver and kidneys were successfully transplanted into three people.

"It was a silver lining for us," Grugan's' mother, Eileen Grugan, said. "Donating Charles' organs to others was the thing that kept our family together and pulled us through this grief.

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2 US PA: Hibiscus Mistaken For Marijuana, Pennsylvania Couple Who WereMon, 20 Nov 2017
Source:Kansas City Star (MO) Author:Gutierrez, Lisa Area:Pennsylvania Lines:102 Added:11/23/2017

Police in Buffalo Township, Penn., were looking for marijuana when they raided a home on Oct. 7, taking the female homeowner out of the house without pants after she answered the door.

But there was a hitch. The homeowners weren't growing pot. They grow hibiscus plants in their backyard.

Edward and Audrey Cramer filed a civil lawsuit last week against the police and Nationwide Insurance Co.

Among their allegations: false arrest, excessive force, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and invasion of privacy.

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3 US PA: Pa. Marijuana Growers And Doctors Get Creative With No BudgetTue, 21 Nov 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:100 Added:11/23/2017

Patient response to Pa. marijuana program 'extremely positive'

What if Pennsylvania had a medical marijuana program but few people knew about it?

With hundreds of millions of dollars invested in cannabis growing facilities and dispensaries -- and the health of thousands of prospective patients on the line -- alerting state residents to the program should be a priority. But there's effectively a gag order on nearly all players involved.

The state Department of Health, responsible for the program's roll-out, has no budget to pay for advertising. Marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries are prohibited by law from actively promoting their wares. And doctors who write recommendations for medical cannabis are forbidden from publicizing that they're participating.

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4 US PA: Smoke Shop Owner Who Said Bongs Were Only For TobaccoTue, 21 Nov 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:60 Added:11/21/2017

The owner of a pipe and bong store in the Philadelphia suburbs, caught up in a crackdown on head shops, was convicted Monday of selling drug paraphernalia.

Craig Hennesy, 49, whose Piper's Smoke Shop opened in 2016 in Limerick near Ursinus College, could get two years in jail and be fined $10,000 when he is sentenced on two misdemeanor counts.

Hennesy was convicted by a Montgomery County Court jury despite hearing testimony from a retired county chief of detectives who said the products sold were legitimate.

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5 US PA: Feds: Philly Officer Sold Drugs Stolen By Corrupt BaltimoreTue, 14 Nov 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Roebuck, Jeremy Area:Pennsylvania Lines:71 Added:11/14/2017

Federal agents arrested a Philadelphia police officer Tuesday, accusing him of conspiring with officers in Baltimore to sell cocaine and heroin seized from that city's streets.

Prosecutors say that Eric Troy Snell, 33, earned thousands of dollars serving as a conduit between corrupt members of a Baltimore police task force who stole the drugs and his brother, who sold them in Philadelphia.

Investigators also have accused Snell of threatening the children of a Baltimore officer who pleaded guilty in the case.

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6 US PA: Medical marijuana in Pennsylvania: How Patients Can Sign UpThu, 02 Nov 2017
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Wagaman, Andrew Area:Pennsylvania Lines:84 Added:11/02/2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Wednesday pledged to make medical marijuana available to patients by May and released a list of 109 approved practitioners statewide.

It also launched the medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry, with instructions on how those interested can sign up. More than 200,000 patients across the state could qualify for medical marijuana treatment.

Pennsylvanians with 17 medical conditions are eligible for medical marijuana patient ID cards.

Those conditions are Lou Gehrig's disease, autism, cancer, Crohn's disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Huntington's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord damage, chronic pain, neuropathies and intractable seizures.

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7 US PA: Medical Marijuana Appeals Expose Flaws In Application ScoringSat, 23 Sep 2017
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Wagaman, Andrew Area:Pennsylvania Lines:286 Added:09/26/2017

More than 130 administrative appeals have been filed against the state Department of Health's Office of Medical Marijuana over a secret evaluation committee's handling of applications to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

More than 130 administrative appeals have been filed against the state Department of Health's Office of Medical Marijuana over a secret evaluation committee's handling of applications to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. (HARRY FISHER / THE MORNING CALL)

The competition for 39 permits to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana in Pennsylvania was bound to leave many applicants speed-dialing their lawyers to complain about unfair evaluations.

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8 US PA: Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Law May Be Drifting IntoTue, 19 Sep 2017
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Esack, Steve Area:Pennsylvania Lines:122 Added:09/23/2017

Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery -- who temporarily moonlighted as a medical marijuana lawyer -- held a news conference in the state Capitol in which he accused a Bethlehem company of threatening to destroy the law with a lawsuit.

Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery -- who temporarily moonlighted as a medical marijuana lawyer -- held a news conference in the state Capitol in which he accused a Bethlehem company of threatening to destroy the law with a lawsuit. (Steve Esack)

Prior to passage of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana law, politicians and advocates spoke with compassion about how it would provide alternative care to the sick and infirm.

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9 US PA: Patients Lose As Cannabis Industry Barters For Zoning InThu, 14 Sep 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Goldstein, Chris Area:Pennsylvania Lines:113 Added:09/19/2017

A pay-to-play system has developed between state-licensed cannabis operators and municipal governments across the country for local zoning. The same model has quickly materialized in Pennsylvania, and now one town has gone too far.

Muhlenberg Township in Berks County was trying to squeeze a dispensary - - Franklin Bioscience LLC - for 5 percent of its annual profits.

The issue was revealed when the Pennsylvania Department of Health released a letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer from medical-marijuana program director John Collins to the company's CEO, Andrew Weiss, allowing the dispensary to relocate after getting pressured for the cash. Collins wrote:

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10 US PA: DA Candidate Endorses Safe Injection Sites For HeroinThu, 14 Sep 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Whelan, Aubrey Area:Pennsylvania Lines:134 Added:09/19/2017

Democrat Larry Krasner, the front-runner to become Philadelphia's next district attorney, says he supports city-sanctioned spaces where people addicted to heroin can inject drugs under medical supervision and access treatment, a move advocates see as a promising step toward making the city the first in the U.S. to open such a site.

His Republican opponent, Beth Grossman, says she's open to discussions on the matter.

For those on the front lines of the heroin crisis in Philadelphia, both are encouraging stances in a political arena where the idea can still be dismissed out of hand. But recently, cities across the country have begun to consider the possibility of instituting supervised injection sites; several nations, including Canada, have used the approach for years.

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11 US PA: Pennsbury School Board OKs Aggressive Antidrug ProgramTue, 19 Sep 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Boccella, Kathy Area:Pennsylvania Lines:100 Added:09/19/2017

Just six days after her 28-year-old son died from a heroin overdose, the president of the Pennsbury school board wept as she thanked her colleagues for unanimously approving an ambitious new $149,000 antidrug program aimed at fighting an opioid epidemic that has ravaged young grads in their Lower Bucks County community.

"Thank you all for doing this - now more than ever it means the world to me," a tearful Jacqueline Redner said immediately after the vote. After a decadelong battle with addiction, her son Josh was found dead in a motel room on Sept. 13.

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12 US PA: Gov. Wolf: Crackdown On Medical Marijuana Will 'Force MoreThu, 07 Sep 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:70 Added:09/12/2017

Federal interference with Pennsylvania's medical-marijuana program would "force more suffering on some of our most vulnerable constituents," Gov. Wolf said in a letter to Rep. Charlie Dent (R., Pa.), who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

Wolf is alarmed that Congress could eliminate a provision in an appropriations bill that for four years has prohibited federal agencies from cracking down on the implementation of state-approved medical-cannabis programs.

The states considered the provision, known as the Rohrabacher amendment, as tacit protection that gave them permission to launch their cannabis programs.

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13 US PA: OPED: Auditor General DePasquale: Legalize Marijuana In Pa. ToThu, 07 Sep 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:DePasquale, Eugene Area:Pennsylvania Lines:117 Added:09/12/2017

With Pennsylvania teetering on the edge of another budget cliff, it is immensely clear to me that we must get creative in finding long-term revenue solutions to prevent total financial collapse.

Last month, as a short-term fix to the state's cash-flow woes, I cosigned a $750 million loan from Treasury's Short Term Investment Pool. That loan cost the state $141,000 in interest.

What's more, Treasurer Joe Torsella is forecasting the state's general fund balance will hit negative $1.6 billion by mid-September. This is disturbing.

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14 US PA: Pa. Must Reveal Names Of Secret Marijuana PanelistsFri, 01 Sep 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:53 Added:09/01/2017

In a decision that could change the way future medical marijuana permits are awarded in Pennsylvania, the state has ordered the Pa. Department of Health to reveal the identities of the panelists who determined the winners to grow and distribute cannabis products.

The Pa. Department of Health in June awarded 12 permits to grow and process marijuana and 27 permits to distribute the medicines in a process that many of the unsuccessful applicants criticized as unnecessarily opaque.

A secret panel, comprised of about a dozen Pennsylvania state employees, reviewed and scored hundreds of lengthy applications for the potentially lucrative business permits, following a model originally set by New Jersey. Other states have followed different selection processes. Ohio, for example, hired an Atlanta-based consultant to determine its winners, according to

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15 US PA: Pa.'s Once Vast Hemp Harvest Reemerges From The WeedsThu, 31 Aug 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:129 Added:08/31/2017

Not one of the growers had any prior experience cultivating the plant, which grows so quickly it's nicknamed "weed." So some problems were to be expected. However, nobody anticipated one complication.

"We had some projects that really did everything right, but were completely overrun by weeds," -- real weeds, said Russell Redding, the state's Secretary of Agriculture. "You'd have fields that were beautifully green, but overwhelmed by unwanted species."

Sometimes knowledge is hard-won, even in a state with a long history of cultivation dating back to the colonial era and more than a dozen school districts named "Hempfield."

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16 US PA: Norco Drug Forfeiture Program Netted $132k Last YearMon, 21 Aug 2017
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Yates, Riley Area:Pennsylvania Lines:86 Added:08/25/2017

Northampton County's drug forfeiture program netted $132,000 last year, the district attorney's office announced.

Northampton County's drug forfeiture program seized more than $132,000 in the past year, on par with other years despite heightened scrutiny of the practice nationwide.

In the fiscal year ending June 30, the program brought in $122,000 in cash, plus $9,900 from the sale of forfeited vehicles, District Attorney John Morganelli announced.

The proceeds represented an increase from the $112,000 averaged in the four previous years. But they were well short of the program's record in fiscal 2011, when $283,000 was seized.

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17 US PA: Politicians Line Up Against Proposed Philly MarijuanaMon, 14 Aug 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:65 Added:08/14/2017

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

A zoning hearing Tuesday morning attracted a sizable crowd, including people from eight neighborhood churches among others aiming to 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.

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18 US PA: Conrail Not Ready Yet On Cleanup Of Heroin GulchTue, 25 Jul 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Terruso, Julia Area:Pennsylvania Lines:44 Added:07/25/2017

Cleanup of the Gurney Street railroad gulch in Fairhill, a campground for heroin users and a dumping site for needles and garbage, didn't start Monday as was initially planned.

The city came to an agreement with Conrail last month to fence and clean up the property. A contract calls for work to start by July 31, but Conrail planned to start work Monday.

Jocelyn Hill, a spokeswoman for Conrail, said that fabricating the fencing that will secure the area took longer than anticipated and that the company had hired a second contractor to speed things up. She said the work still will begin before July 31.

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19 US PA: Editorial: Stop Opioids From Being Delivered By The U.s PostalMon, 17 Jul 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:73 Added:07/21/2017

Within the murky online corners of the so-called Dark Net, drug dealers emphasize the best way to send their goods across the United States is not via FedEx, UPS, or another private mail carrier, but through the U.S Postal Service.

Last year, up to 59,000 opioid-related deaths occurred, making those narcotics the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. Many of the deaths were attributed to synthetic opioids, which have flooded the market through mail orders from China using USPS.

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20 US PA: Audit: Pennsylvania Isn't Evaluating Addiction ProgramsThu, 13 Jul 2017
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:65 Added:07/14/2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania state government is not measuring the effectiveness of many of its addiction treatment programs that can be helpful in the fight against the epidemic of heroin and prescription drug overdoses, auditors said Thursday.

The audit launched last year by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale recommends that three state agencies -- the departments of Human Services, Corrections and Drug and Alcohol Programs -- do more to assess whether their addiction treatment programs are successful in curing people. It also warns that more money is needed to fund the effort.

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