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1 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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2 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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3 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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4 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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5 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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6 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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7 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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8 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 Cleveland.com.

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9 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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10 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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11 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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12 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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13 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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14 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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15 US PA: How I Loved And Lost My Fiance - A Heroin AddictWed, 12 Jul 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Bellomia, Corin Area:Pennsylvania Lines:109 Added:07/14/2017

Chris and I were texting Dec. 11, 2016, when at 3:50 p.m. he went silent.

I assumed it was because we were arguing. We were always arguing, ever since his addiction had taken over his life. The signs were there: The man who would write beautiful songs on his guitar became sluggish and angry. He wouldn't spend time with the people who lifted him up and instead sneaked out to see those who enabled his addiction. He stopped going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and group therapy.

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16 US PA: Partners Have Big Plans For Allentown's Medical MarijuanaFri, 07 Jul 2017
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Wagaman, Andrew Area:Pennsylvania Lines:149 Added:07/11/2017

Allentown's first licensed medical marijuana dispensary features a partnership between a fifth-generation Lehigh Valley native and a big-time medical cannabis company that has helped secure more than 50 licenses in states across the country.

Mission Partners LLC, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based management consulting firm 4Front Ventures, hopes to open its first Mission Pennsylvania dispensary early next year in a building at 2733 W. Emmaus Ave., Allentown, that currently houses MP Outfitters.

One of Mission Pennsylvania's principals is Ari Molovinsky, a 1997 Parkland High School graduate whose father, Michael, lives in South Whitehall Township and operates the "Molovinsky on Allentown" blog.

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17 US PA: Why Medical Marijuana Shops In Pa. Won't ReekTue, 04 Jul 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:113 Added:07/05/2017

Walk into a medical marijuana dispensary in New Jersey and the first thing to hit you is the stink.

Weed's scent is a sour blast that seems to reek of citrus, diesel, and skunk. At the Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, Middlesex County, charcoal air purifiers -- encased in gleaming steel and larger than jet engines -- are strategically placed through the facility. It's hard to say whether their presence tempers the odor, which is generated by thousands of cannabis plants growing under lights in the same building.

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18 US PA: Councilwoman Will Try To Block Medical Marijuana DispensarySun, 02 Jul 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:60 Added:07/04/2017

A Philadelphia city councilwoman says she will try to block a medical marijuana dispensary from being located in her East Mount Airy district.

"This is not a debate about the merits of medical marijuana -- which the community and I both support -- but it is solely about the proposed use at this location," Parker said in a statement, citing concerns about public safety and security. "I remain vehemently opposed to this site."

State Rep. Chris Rabb (D., Phila.), who lives four blocks from the proposed dispensary, said he was happy to have one in the neighborhood. But Rabb said he believes the two-story structure is "specifically an awful location."

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19 US PA: Where Medical Cannabis Shops Will Be In Pa.Thu, 29 Jun 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:63 Added:07/03/2017

Medical marijuana permits leave losers fuming in Pa.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today announced the names and locations of companies that will be permitted to sell medical marijuana in the state.

The reveal came in a news release issued Thursday at 1:15 p.m..

Each of the 27 winners have the right to operate three storefronts. Though there were 81 dispensaries allowed by law, many applicants chose not to ask for additional outlets. As it stands, only 52 will open sometime next year.

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20 US PA: Marijuana Has Been Decriminalized For A Year In Philly How'sTue, 27 Jun 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Farr, Stephanie Area:Pennsylvania Lines:171 Added:06/30/2017

In fact, since decriminalization took effect, police have cited 73 percent fewer people than they arrested for possessing weed during the same time period in the year prior to decriminalization.

And if mayoral candidate Jim Kenney has his way, citations for marijuana users may become a thing of the past, too.

"I'm not interested in issuing citations, either. We'll get to that conversation at the appropriate time next year," Kenney told the Daily News. "As time goes on, I don't know if there's going to be a need for any kind of punishment."

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