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1 US PA: A 'Game-Changer' For Pa. Medical Marijuana Flower Goes On SaleFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:112 Added:07/31/2018

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania are bracing for a surge in new customers when vaporizable "flower" -- the most popular and recognizable form of cannabis -- goes on sale on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

"We're expecting 300 to 400 patients at our Abington store the first day," said Chris Visco, co-founder of TerraVida Holistic Centers. "People will likely be in line at 8 a.m. We're hiring an extra security guard and an extra valet parking person. This is a game-changer."

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2 US PA: Pa. report: Legalizing Marijuana Could Generate $580 MillionThu, 19 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:72 Added:07/19/2018

Legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in Pennsylvania could generate more than $580 million in tax revenue for the state, said Auditor General Eugene DePasquale in a report issued Thursday morning.

"Pennsylvania's budget challenges are now a consistent factor in all state policy decisions," said DePasquale. "Taxing marijuana offers a rare glimmer of fiscal hope, providing a way to refocus the state budget process away from filling its own gaps."

Last year, the state faced a shortfall of more than $2 billion.

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3 US PA: Could Marijuana Help Treat Opioid Addiction? Pennsylvania MayFri, 06 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Giordano, Rita Area:Pennsylvania Lines:179 Added:07/11/2018

As bad as getting off opioids the first time was, nothing prepared Briana Kline for trying to come back from relapse. She was in deep, past the Percocets and other pills. This time it was heroin, even a close brush with fentanyl. But the medicine that so helped slay her cravings before didn't seem to be cutting it.

"The Suboxone didn't make me feel the way it usually does," said Kline, 26, of Lancaster County. "I was struggling a lot with cravings. I'd go a couple of days, be OK. Then I'd go use again."

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4 US PA: Pennsylvania House Moves To Reinstate Medical MarijuanaTue, 19 Jun 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Scolforo, Mark Area:Pennsylvania Lines:64 Added:06/19/2018

State lawmakers moved Tuesday to reinstate the research provision of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana law, a month after a court decision left it in limbo.

The House voted 167-31 to change the law by laying out more explicitly the goal of its provisions allowing medical schools to partner with companies that grow the drug and provide it to patients.

"We worked very hard so that indeed real research not only will have the opportunity to occur, but it's going to be required to occur," said Rep. Kathy Watson, R-Bucks, who sponsored the amendment.

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5 US PA: Medical Marijuana Patients, Legally Banned From Driving, MayTue, 19 Jun 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:55 Added:06/19/2018

All marijuana users are forbidden from operating a car, truck, boat, or an airplane under Pennsylvania statute. That poses a conundrum for medical marijuana patients who need to drive and want to stay within the bounds of law.

Pa. Rep. Sheryl M. Delozier (R., Cumberland) says she aims to fix that.

Delozier last week announced she'll introduce legislation that will exempt medical marijuana patients as long as they are not driving while impaired.

Driving under the influence is a crime in every state. But knowing when a driver is too high to drive is nearly impossible to tell with a test. Unlike with alcohol, there is nothing like a Breathalyzer devise for cannabis that police can use. If an officer suspects a driver is impaired, he can order a blood tests. But chemical compounds from marijuana can remain in the blood for 15 days or more after use and deliver an incriminating positive result.

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6 US PA: Drugged Driving Deaths Spike With Spread Of Legal MarijuanaThu, 31 May 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Bergal, Jenni Area:Pennsylvania Lines:148 Added:05/31/2018

As legal marijuana spreads and the opioid epidemic rages on, the number of drugged drivers killed in car crashes is rising dramatically, according to a report released today.

Forty-four percent of fatally injured drivers tested for drugs had positive results in 2016, the Governors Highway Safety Association found, up more than 50 percent compared with a decade ago. More than half the drivers tested positive for marijuana, opioids or a combination of the two.

"These are big-deal drugs. They are used a lot," said Jim Hedlund, an Ithaca, New York-based traffic safety consultant who conducted the highway safety group's study. "People should not be driving while they're impaired by anything and these two drugs can impair you."

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7 US PA: Now That Marijuana Is Legal, Could Magic Mushrooms Be Next?Wed, 16 May 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Ostrov, Barbara Feder Area:Pennsylvania Lines:149 Added:05/16/2018

In Oregon and Denver, where marijuana is legal for recreational use, activists are now pushing toward a psychedelic frontier: "magic mushrooms."

Groups in both states are sponsoring ballot measures that would eliminate criminal penalties for possession of the mushrooms whose active ingredient, psilocybin, can cause hallucinations, euphoria and changes in perception. They point to research showing that psilocybin might be helpful for people suffering from depression or anxiety.

"We don't want individuals to lose their freedom over something that's natural and has health benefits," said Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Denver for Psilocybin, the group working to decriminalize magic mushrooms in Colorado's capital.

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8 US PA: Pa. Lawmaker Asks To Erase Marijuana Convictions For PatientsTue, 08 May 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:37 Added:05/11/2018

A Pennsylvania legislator introduced a bill Monday that would give medical marijuana patients a chance of expunging a conviction of marijuana possession if the charge resulted from their use of cannabis for medical purposes.

The bill is sponsored by State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), and does not have any support yet from Republicans who control the legislature. To be expunged, patients would have to prove they had a doctor's diagnosis for one of the 21 approved serious health conditions at the time of the conviction. The patient would also have to provide evidence they were using cannabis to treat the condition.

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9 US PA: Temple U. Researchers Take A Leading Role In Medical MarijuanaMon, 30 Apr 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:116 Added:05/04/2018

Pennsylvania is gearing up to become a global center for cannabis research. Yet for more than a decade, Philadelphia has been on the forefront of investigations into the medicinal uses of marijuana.

Sara Jane Ward has built a reputation exploring marijuana's effects on pain and addiction using animals at Temple University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

Ward and her colleague Ronald Tuma, a professor of physiology and neurosurgery, lead a team of 10 researchers at Temple's Center for Substance Abuse in North Philadelphia.

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10 US PA: Marijuana Growers Seek To Extinguish Pennsylvania's CannabisFri, 20 Apr 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:114 Added:04/25/2018

Calling it "disruptive" and "unlawful," a group of Pennsylvania marijuana growers and retailers wants to snuff out the state's pioneering research program before it is launched.

The first of its kind in the nation, the research program would allow eight of the state's teaching hospitals to contract with a cannabis producer. Each contract is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. The agreements grant the producers a "super-permit" to operate an indoor grow facility and to open six retail dispensaries that can sell medical marijuana to any approved patient.

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11 US PA: Israeli Marijuana Giant Partners With Pa. Medical GrowerThu, 19 Apr 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:68 Added:04/24/2018

A Pennsylvania marijuana producer is partnering with an Israeli cannabis pioneer to cultivate and sell proprietary strains of the plant in the Keystone State.

Ilera Healthcare operates a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Waterfall, Fulton County. Ilera plans to open its first state-permitted dispensary in Plymouth Meeting on May 4.

Tikun Olam -- the name means "Repair the World" in Hebrew -- is a powerhouse in cannabis research. And in Israel, it dominates the medical marijuana market. The Tel Aviv-based company has developed dozens of proprietary genetic strains, some of which are designed to alleviate anxiety, depression, nausea, pain associated with cancer, and other ailments, a spokesman said.

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12 US PA: Even Where It's Legal To Sell Marijuana, It's Hard ToFri, 06 Apr 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Siegel, Rachel Area:Pennsylvania Lines:105 Added:04/11/2018

As the cannabis industry grows, generating an estimated $10 billion in annual sales, states are increasingly approving medical marijuana programs and passing adult-use laws.

But for marketing agencies, marijuana dispensaries and cannabis brands, advertising the pot brings its own hurdles.

Online platforms with prime advertising space like Facebook and Google do not allow drug, or drug-related promotions on their sites, leaving a large share of marijuana advertising to blogs and podcasts, newsletters and print media. And while experts say Facebook and Google - -- which control the lion's share of digital advertising in the country -- are unlikely to change their policies until pot is legalized at the federal level, and television and radio come with their own sets of rules, industry members are left to navigate a complex web of state-by-state regulations.

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13 US PA: Oped: Medical Marijuana Should Be Allowed One Foot From PhillyTue, 03 Apr 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Sacks, Andrew B. Area:Pennsylvania Lines:100 Added:04/06/2018

As one of the first lawyers in Pennsylvania to venture into the legal world of medical marijuana and hemp, I have had the pleasure to work and assist with the development of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program. I could not be happier to see these dispensaries opening and helping the sick get relief.

However, a problem has developed that will make it very difficult for many of the patients who most need the medicine to receive it.

The problem stems from the law's requirement that a medical marijuana dispensary cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school or day-care location.

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14 US PA: A Vancouver Cop Tells Philadelphia Why He Changed His Mind OnTue, 03 Apr 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Whelan, Aubrey Area:Pennsylvania Lines:108 Added:04/06/2018

At the height of a heroin epidemic in Vancouver, British Columbia, Inspector Bill Spearn -- then a rookie cop -- was assigned to a beat in the heart of the crisis.

It was 1996, and though he had been responding to overdose after overdose in Downtown Eastside, one of Canada's poorest postal codes, Spearn wanted no part of the harm-reduction measures the city was considering to save the lives of people in addiction.

A safe injection site, where drugs could be used under medical supervision, was out of the question: "I thought it would be a big magnet," he told a crowd at Temple University Medical School on Monday night. "I thought it would empower people to use drugs." A few years later, with the debate still raging, he left the neighborhood for another position in the police department.

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15 US PA: Marijuana Advocate Gets Probation For Pot-Smoking PartyThu, 05 Apr 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA)          Area:Pennsylvania Lines:29 Added:04/05/2018

A marijuana advocate who invited hundreds of people to his pot-smoking party at a Philadelphia warehouse has been fined, ordered to perform community service and sentenced to four years' probation.

Philly.com reports that Richard Tamaccio Jr. was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty in January to felony drug charges. His lawyer described him as a "true crusader" for marijuana legalization.

Prosecutors say Tamaccio was charged for facilitating the sale of marijuana at the party last April and for possessing about nine pounds of marijuana plants and products at his home.

The city in 2014 made possession of small amounts of the drug punishable only by a citation and a fine, but marijuana sales weren't decriminalized.

Twenty-one other people were also arrested at the party.

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16 US PA: Are There Risks From Secondhand Marijuana Smoke? Early ScienceMon, 26 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Ortega-Welch, Marissa Area:Pennsylvania Lines:169 Added:03/31/2018

The inspiration arrived in a haze at a Paul McCartney concert a few years ago in San Francisco.

"People in front of me started lighting up and then other people started lighting up," said Matthew Springer, a biologist and professor in the division of cardiology at the University of California-San Francisco. "And for a few naive split seconds I was thinking to myself, 'Hey, they can't smoke in AT&T Park! I'm sure that's not allowed.' And then I realized that it was all marijuana."

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17 US PA: Safe Injection Site To Get Airing In Philly Neighborhood MostWed, 28 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Whelan, Aubrey Area:Pennsylvania Lines:107 Added:03/28/2018

In Kensington, this much is clear: No other neighborhood in Philadelphia has seen more overdose deaths, or more visible suffering amid a city opioid epidemic that claimed an estimated 1,200 lives in 2017. Along with neighboring Fairhill, it occupies less than 2 percent of Philadelphia's land area, but 18 percent of all city overdoses occurred in that small space, according to an Inquirer analysis of city data.

On Tuesday night, when city health officials arrive in the neighborhood for a community meeting on the epidemic, they'll come armed with dire statistics and information on the city's 18-point plan to fight the crisis. But they won't have an answer to the question that's roiled the neighborhood since the plan was announced in January: Will Kensington host the first safe-injection site in the city, and possibly the nation?

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18 US PA: Number Of Pennsylvania Infants Going Through Drug WithdrawalWed, 28 Mar 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Huang, Binghui Area:Pennsylvania Lines:53 Added:03/28/2018

The number of Pennsylvanian babies born with drug withdrawal symptoms increased 10-fold in the past decade and a half, a symptom of an increasingly deadly opioid epidemic plaguing the country, according to a new state report.

In fiscal year 2017,15 in 1,000 Pennsylvanian newborns were diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a dramatic increase from fiscal 2001 when only 1.2 in 1,000 newborns had the diagnosis, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council said in the report, which was released Wednesday.

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19 US PA: Pa. Medical Marijuana Program To About To Double In SizeFri, 23 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:87 Added:03/23/2018

Pennsylvania's commercial medical marijuana program is set to more than double in size.

State officials Thursday announced the program was entering its second phase, expanding from 12 to 25 cannabis producers and adding 23 more dispensary operators.

The state also is launching a unique research effort that will run in parallel to the established commercial program, conducting clinical investigations into marijuana and selling to the public.

"From what I've seen and heard, there seems to be a high interest in doing research around pain management and as a replacement for opioids," John Collins, director of the state marijuana program, said in a phone conference with reporters.

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20 US PA: Safe Injection Site Stirs Tensions At Northeast Philly MeetingMon, 19 Mar 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Whelan, Aubrey Area:Pennsylvania Lines:102 Added:03/22/2018

Midway through a community meeting in Northeast Philadelphia on the opioid crisis Monday, a man stood up at the back of the room and yelled out a question to city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley: "Doctor, where do you live? Can we put a safe injection site next door to you?"

The crowd of 150 in the Fox Chase community center applauded and burst into shouts in a display that vividly showed the tough sales job the city is facing as it tries to fulfill a promise to allow a place where people in addiction can use drugs under medical supervision. As heroin has been adulterated with the deadlier opioid fentanyl, often without the user's knowledge, the overdose death rate has soared. Quick administration of a reversal medicine can save lives.

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