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Pa. House amends DUI law decriminalizing trace amounts of medical marijuana

10/22/20--On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania state House passed a bill amending the state’s existing DUI law to decriminalize driving while traces of marijuana are still in the system of legal medical-marijuana users. Read

Federal Judge puts hold on Philly safe-injection site

6/25/20--A federal judge ruled it is in the public’s best interest that the nation’s first supervised drug-injection site in Philadelphia be barred from opening while federal prosecutors appeal the site’s legality. An appeals court will now have the chance to review if the facility is legal before the Philadelphia nonprofit Safehouse can move toward opening the site. Read

Carbon County parents charged in accidental shooting death of 2-year-old son

5/28/20--Authorities say that a 2-year-old Carbon County boy accidentally shot himself in the head with a handgun he found in a basket along with toys and a children’s book. Now his parents are facing involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges following the boy’s death last weekend and the discovery of two more loaded and easily accessible guns in the couple’s East Penn Township home. Read

Ethos Cannabis and Jefferson University launch their first studies under Pennsylvania’s Medical Cannabis Research Program

5/27/20--Ethos Cannabis and the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University have launched their first studies under Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis research program. Pennsylvania’s 2016 medical cannabis law allows medical cannabis operators to seek “clinical registrant” licenses to partner with one of the state’s medical schools, called “academic clinical research centers,” to orchestrate patient-facing clinical studies into the benefits of medical cannabis. Read

Women of weed rise high in Philly

10/30/19--The marijuana business is attracting women of all backgrounds, from millennials to boomers, from private equity hotshots and serial entrepreneurs to planners of underground pot parties. The Philadelphia Inquirer profiled several women who have started businesses or are active in the field of recreational and medical marijuana. Read

Think tank backs marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania

10/4/19--A policy brief from a liberal-leaning Harrisburg think tank on the possible legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania concluded that doing so would generate millions in revenue for the state, create thousands of jobs, and reduce incarceration rates and court costs for prosecuting marijuana-related crimes. Read

AG Phil Weiser backs Philly in lawsuit over supervised-drug-use sites, even if Colorado’s effort is stalled

7/11/19--Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is supporting Philadelphia nonprofit, Safehouse, in its legal battle with the federal government over whether it should be allowed to open a supervised drug consumption site in that city, stepping into an issue at the center of one of Colorado’s most divisive political debates. Read

Why medical marijuana patients are concerned about their safety

2/15/19--Thousands of Pennsylvanians have turned to medical marijuana since the drug became legally available last year, but dispensaries and their customers are living in fear. Since the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule 1 narcotic -- the same class as heroin -- banks and credit card companies are keeping their distance, meaning patients must carry large amounts of cash and go to great lengths to keep it safe. Read  

Marijuana meetings start in Harrisburg with strong showing of support for legal pot

2/11/19--Lt. Gov. John Fetterman kicked off is pot legalization listening tour in Pennsylvania with dozens of people packing the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg to talk about legalizing marijuana. There were some opponents who voiced their opinions, but the public comments on this opening night ranged about four-to-one in favor of a broad legalization of pot for recreational use. Read

Queen of cannabis: Pa.’s biggest weed dealer is a brash and bold entrepreneur

12/11/18--Chris Visco, a dominant retailer of medical marijuana, is the cofounder and CEO of TerraVida Holistic Centers, a chain of three marijuana dispensaries scattered across the Philadelphia suburbs. Visco has taken an unorthodox route to the top of the Keystone State's marijuana industry. She employs nearly 80 people and hopes to open six more spa-like dispensaries next year. Read

State rejects marijuana research supplier permits

12/10/18--Eight applicants were denied permits to supply medical marijuana research projects late last week. A news release from Gov. Tom Wolf office said none of the eight applicants met the “rigorous requirements of the application review process.” Another permit application period will be held in early 2019. Read

Erie City Council poised to change rules on marijuana

1/14/18--Erie City Council looks poised to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Council is expected to vote on changes to an existing city ordinance that would make possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia, a summary offense instead of a misdemeanor under certain conditions. Read

Philly hospitals, medical schools jockey for marijuana partners

12/19/17--Six Pennsylvania medical schools have struck deals to partner with marijuana growers, according to industry insiders. Those include Drexel, Temple, and Thomas Jefferson Universities, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). The potential revenues, and opportunities for research, have spurred smaller schools and independent hospitals to jockey for arrangements of their own. Read

More than 2,000 people sign up for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program in the first week

11/3/17--The Pennsylvania Department of Health says more than 2,000 people signed up for the state's new medical marijuana program just days after launching. A health department spokesman said that the registrations include patients and caregivers. Qualifying conditions include AIDS, autism, cancer, chronic pain, and Crohn's disease. Read

Men bombard Pennsylvania gynecologist for medical marijuana

11/3/17--Dr. Liang Bartkowiak, a Pennsylvania gynecologist, says she has been inundated with calls from men trying to set up appointments after hearing she was permitted to prescribe medical marijuana. Based on the calls she's been getting, Bartkowiak said she thinks many people misunderstand what the law allows. Read

Pennsylvania launches medical marijuana patient registry

11/2/17--Pennsylvania launches medical marijuana patient registry with an easy sign-up process, but patients will still have to wait six months for their medicine. The launch of the patient registry is part of the state’s steady implementation of the 2016 law. Read

Cambria County approves medical marijuana policy for employees

10/26/17--Cambria County commissioners unanimously approved the policy for the county and its employees to comply with and abide by Pennsylvania's law concerning medical marijuana use – with county leaders pledging not to discharge, threaten, refuse to hire, or discriminate against those certified to use the drug. According to the policy, it will be a county employee's responsibility to notify the human resources department about his or her certification to use medical marijuana. Read

University of Pittsburgh researchers hope to participate in medical marijuana clinical research studies

10/23/17--Pennsylvania is angling to become a national leader in medical marijuana research in conjunction with offering treatment to patients in need. Some patients will be asked to participate in clinical trials once Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program becomes fully operational, and there's also a good chance the University of Pittsburgh will conduct some of the research. Read

Shopping mall seeks to bar marijuana dispensary from opening nearby

10/19/17--Simon Property Group, owner of Philadelphia Mills, is trying to bar PharmaCann LLC from opening a medical marijuana dispensary near the mall. Simon Property Group says a deed restriction bars a drugstore, but PharmaCann attorneys deny that the dispensary would be a drugstore. Simon also argued that the deed forbids illegal activity on the premises, and since federal law doesn’t make an exception for medical use of cannabis, a medical marijuana facility would be prohibited. Read

Deerfield Twp. won’t allow medical marijuana facilities

10/12/17--The Deerfield Township Board has considered its options and decided it doesn’t want medical marijuana facilities within its borders. According to Supervisor Ron Cousino, the lack of a full-time police force to protect and watch over such businesses was among the concerns. Read

Engineer in deadly Chester Amtrak crash had marijuana in system

10/11/17--The National Transportation Safety Board says the engineer involved in a deadly Amtrak crash in Chester last year had marijuana in his system. The train was heading from New York to Savannah, Georgia, when it struck the backhoe in Chester, about 15 miles outside of Philadelphia. Read

How long will it take Pa. to respond to medical marijuana request? Years, state says

9/20/17--Pennsylvania took about three months to process, review, and award medical marijuana permits earlier this year. However, in a legal filing, the Department of Health requested two years to review the records again and respond to PennLive's public records appeal seeking unredacted copies of several of the most heavily redacted applications. According to the department, the initial review "took far less time because there was more staff involved in the reviews and the information reviewed was only that not already redacted by the applicants." Read

Poll: Majority of Pa. voters support legalized marijuana

9/21/17--Support in Pennsylvania to fully legalize marijuana has reached a record high, according to a poll published by Franklin and Marshall College. A majority of voters in the Keystone State, 59 percent, said “yes” when asked if cannabis should be made legal. When pollsters first began asking the question in 2006, only 22 percent were pro-pot. Read

Tight deadline, flood plain pose problems for marijuana dispensary

9/18/17--Bay LLC, operating as Cure PA, plans to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in the Fort Washington Office Park. However, a main concern is that the property sits in the floodplain conservation district and would need zoning relief. At the street, the property is 9 feet under water, but it slopes up to 4.5 feet under water in the back. The existing structure, which sits at the rear of the property, will be renovated and raised 4.5 feet. Although this is a major undertaking, significant improvements would be made to the street front, including hardscaping and benches. Read

Glitches threaten to slow down Pa.’s medical marijuana process

9/14/17--Roughly six months from a projected rollout, Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program continues to negotiate glitches and snags that threaten to slow down the potential for thousands of patients to secure long-awaited medications. In the latest set back, the state's Office of Open Records reprimanded the Department of Health for failing to do its job. Open Records said the department failed to "act in good faith" in its handling of the application procedure, which resulted in large portions of applications being redacted, seemingly arbitrarily. Read

Sparking a marijuana war: rival wants Pa. to drop grower under criminal investigation

9/8/17--BrightStar Biomedics, a Scranton-based company, sought an injunction demanding that the state rescind a permit to grow and process cannabis awarded to a rival, Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, a subsidiary of Vireo Health. BrightStar also accused the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana of violating the law when it awarded Pennsylvania Medical Solutions the permit because the parent company was the subject of “ongoing criminal investigations, license revocations, and administrative penalties.” Read

Suit to halt Pa. marijuana program may cause ‘pain, agony, & death’

9/11/17--If Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is delayed, “people will be forced to needlessly endure excruciating pain, agony, and, in some cases, death,” according to State Sen. Daylin Leach, prime sponsor of the 2016 law legalizing medical cannabis in the state. Leach (D., Montgomery) pleaded with an aspiring medical marijuana grower to back down from a lawsuit that could potentially shut down the program before it even launches. Read

Department of Health ordered to release information about medical marijuana panel

9/1/17--The Pennsylvania Department of Health so far has chosen to conceal the identities of members of the review panel that scored the first round of applications for medical marijuana grower/processor and dispensary permits earlier this year. But, the agency that administers the state Right-to-Know Law ordered the health department to disclose the names, job titles, and employers of the panel members to a PennLive.com reporter who requested the information in May. It’s the first notable rejection of numerous actions the department took to obscure the medical marijuana permitting process. Read

Law firms hedge bets on marijuana being legalized nationwide

8/21/17--A number of Philadelphia-area law firms are setting up practices to serve the cannabis industry despite concerns of an uncertain future. The uncertainty comes from the apparent disconnect between state and federal laws. It remains a federal crime to possess, grow, distribute, or prescribe marijuana in any form. Read

East Mt. Airy residents oppose medical marijuana dispensary

8/15/17--Support for medical marijuana may be growing in Pennsylvania, but homeowners living in neighborhoods surrounding the planned TerraVida dispensary, approved to open next January in Philadelphia's East Mt. Airy section, do not want to see pot sold in their neighborhood. Read

Pittsburgh City Council told getting medical marijuana will not be simple

7/13/17--Members of the Pittsburgh City Council were told that medical marijuana will not be easy for the medically eligible to receive. According to PA Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, who co-authored the bill, the first challenge is getting enough doctors certified to recommend medical marijuana. The doctor’s recommendation, which may include dosage and types of medical cannabis, leads to a state medical marijuana card. Read

Here’s the complete list of where Pennsylvania’s 52 medical marijuana dispensaries will be

6/29/17--State regulators on announced the 27 entities that have been selected to operate dispensaries under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law, a program expected to be up and running next year. The Health Department said not all of them are currently opting to run three locations, so for now there will be 52 dispensaries scattered around the state. The entities that were issued permits will have six months to become operational and can begin providing the drug to patients. Read

Pennsylvania defends decision on medical marijuana permit

6/27/17--Pennsylvania health officials are standing by their decision to award a medical marijuana grower's permit to a company whose affiliate in Minnesota had two ex-executives charged with smuggling a half-million dollars' worth of the drug across state lines. Read

Licensed marijuana growers in PA might have weed, but they still can’t get s bank account

6/26/17--Although Pennsylvania has legalized medical marijuana, it's still illegal at the federal level. Therefore, all of the proceeds from growing, producing, or selling it are illegal as far as the federal government is concerned. As a result, banks that accept proceeds for such activity are at risk of federal prosecution. More specifically, banks that accept cannabis-related income as a deposit could face criminal charges, including money laundering. Read

Lehigh University looks to study cannabis effect on autistic children

6/17/17--Lehigh University intends to partner with one of the potential growers in the Lehigh Valley to study the effect of the drug on children with autism. While some parents of autistic children have preached the benefits of cannabis for years, Lehigh's Dean of Education Gary Sasso confirmed that the university wants to collect some of the first quantitative data on the controversial drug therapy. Pennsylvania is one of the few states that specifically allows children with autism to be treated with cannabis. Read

State lists applicants to grow medical cannabis in Pa.

6/14/17--A complete list of companies that want to grow and process medical marijuana in Pennsylvania was released Friday by the state Department of Health. Twelve of the coveted growing permits could be awarded by the end of June, and an announcement of the winners could come as soon as next week. Read

Williams Township residents oppose proposed medical marijuana operation

6/15/17--Some Williams Township residents are on edge about their future because of a proposed medical marijuana growing and processing plant that might be moving in next door. However, it was only a sketch plan, and months away from coming before the supervisors. Supervisor George Washburn said the developer has quite a few hurdles to clear before such a place is operational, especially getting a state license. Read

Group hopes to open medical marijuana dispensary in Berks

5/20/17--The group, KeystoneGreenMMJ is waiting to find out whether or not they will receive a license from the state to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the 4600 block of Penn Avenue in Lower Heidelberg Township. Officials said there are dozens of applicants, but only 10 in the region will be approved. Officials with KeystoneGreenMMJ said they are optimistic. Read

George Soros still quietly buying district attorneys’ seats

5/18/17--The left-wing billionaire George Soros has turned the Philadelphia district attorney’s race on its head by giving $1.45 million to fund a super PAC in support of his preferred candidate, Larry Krasner. The influx of money from Soros gave Krasner a significant leg up over his opposition. Despite splitting votes with six other candidates, Krasner, who was not a favorite to win before Soros’ investment, finished 18 points ahead of the second-place finisher. Read

Philly mayor calls for sale of marijuana in state-run liquor stores

5/12/17--Mayor Jim Kenney believes that Philadelphia could reduce crime while filling its coffers if it legalizes marijuana and regulates it like alcohol. While Pennsylvania hasn’t legalized marijuana, Kenney said the commonwealth’s hundreds of state-run liquor stores could easily double as pot dispensaries if the state passed legislation to that effect. Read

How close is legal marijuana in PA?

5/12/17--The majority of Pennsylvanians polled by Franklin & Marshall College believe all marijuana use should be legalized. The Morning Call outlines the 5 bills referring to marijuana in the statehouse currently being consideration. Read

Pennsylvania releases list of applicants to grow or process medical marijuana

4/27/17--Hundreds of applicants have asked for licenses to grow or sell medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. The flood of applications illustrate the massive interest in getting in on the ground floor of the potentially lucrative medical marijuana industry, which some advocates hope will be the first step toward broader legalization of the drug. Only 12 growing permits will be granted statewide. Read

Marijuana advocates protest outside Philly Police headquarters after bust

4/23/17--Protesters gathered to demonstrate this weekend outside Philadelphia Police headquarters. Dubbed the "Jailhouse Solidarity Philly Smoke Session," the protest was organized in response to the department's raid of a meeting of marijuana activists in the city's East Frankford neighborhood. Read

Pa. awards $10.4M contract to track medical marijuana

4/21/17--MJ Freeway, a Denver-based software company, was awarded a $10.4 million contract on Thursday to track all of Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis commerce from seed-to-sale, while also creating a registry for patients, caregivers, and practitioners to participate in the state's medical marijuana program. Read

Medical marijuana producer eyeing Adamsville site

4/18/17--Adamsville Properties filed a motion with bankruptcy court to sell their property, a 45,000-square-foot building, to NH Medicinals (Minnesota) Inc. for $339,000 with several conditions. The conditions are selling the property free and clear of all liens, claims and encumbrances; court approval of the sale; and NH Medicinals obtaining a license from Pennsylvania to grow medical marijuana before the time of the sale closing. Read

More than 200 Pa. children using medical marijuana in Safe Harbor program

4/18/17--More than 200 children with serious illnesses are legally obtaining medical marijuana outside Pennsylvania while state officials work to make the product available to them here. The Safe Harbor program enables parents, legal guardians or caregivers to provide medical marijuana to minors in their care who have a serious medical condition documented by a physician. Read

Pa. releases draft medical marijuana regulations for doctors

4/11/17--The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued draft regulations that would govern how doctors become registered to prescribe medical marijuana and certify patients to receive the drug when it becomes available. It's the most recent step in the effort to provide medical marijuana to patients by next year.

Wolf says PA is not ready for legal recreational marijuana

4/2/17--Governor Tom Wolf says he doesn't agree with the state Auditor General's recent call for legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania as a way to help solve the commonwealth's fiscal woes. "I am for decriminalizing the holding of small amounts of recreational marijuana," Wolf said. "But, I am not for legalizing recreational marijuana because I don't think we are ready for that yet in Pennsylvania."

Franco Harris among ex-pro athletes hoping to open medical marijuana facilities in Pennsylvania

3/30/17--Former Pittsburgh Steeler Franco Harris, ex-Philadelphia Eagle Lito Sheppard, and former Philadelphia Flyer Riley Cote are all involved in medical marijuana proposals they are hopeful the state will approve. As a strong supporter of medical marijuana, Harris is part of a group that wants to open a medical marijuana research and cultivation center in Braddock, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Read

Marijuana plants, pet monkey seized after police bust Cubans’ grow operation

3/28/17--Chester County authorities say they have busted a marijuana grow operation that was run by Cuban nationals. Over 100 plants ready to produce approximately 200 pounds of marijuana were seized. On top of the marijuana plants, police say they seized items used to grow and harvest marijuana, including lighting, fertilizer, fans, and other material. They also found a marmoset monkey in among all the marijuana. Read

Bethlehem Township passes medical marijuana ordinance

3/21/17--Bethlehem Township supervisors approved an ordinance that permits and regulates medical marijuana facilities in certain zoning districts. Competition for permits is expected to be fierce. The state says it has received correspondence from about 900 entities that have expressed an interest in either producing or dispensing medical marijuana under the state's recently passed law. Read

3 area interests apply for state permits for legal marijuana

3/21/17--At least three local companies applied for medical marijuana permits. Mailing a form was just part of the lengthy, 32 part application process, which also required company principals to undergo criminal background checks with the FBI. Grower-producers paid non-refundable fees of $10,000; a refundable permit fee of $200,000; and proved they had capital of $2 million. Dispensary applicants paid non-refundable application fees of $5,000; refundable permit fees of $30,000; and required $150,000 in capital. Read

Braddock Council approves medical marijuana facility

3/14/17--Braddock council approved a proposal that would bring a 100,000-square-foot medical marijuana facility to the community. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman said he believes the opportunity could transform the community and get Braddock out of financial distress.

Inside Temple University’s Marijuana in the Media class

3/14/17--Instructed by marijuana legalization advocate Chris Goldstein and Linn Washington, Marijuana in the Media is a course offered through Temple University’s School of Media and Communication. Undergraduate students spend Tuesdays and Thursdays examining news coverage, and the history and science of marijuana. According to Washington, the whole point of creating the class was to expose students to information — including misinformation — surrounding cannabis. Read

Braddock Council votes to approve medical marijuana facility

3/14/17--Braddock Borough Council has voted to approve a plan to build a medical marijuana facility. McKeesport’s Planning Commission also approved a company’s proposal to build a growing facility at a former industrial site, and the state Department of Health is expected to soon award licenses to companies to operate dispensaries or growing operations. Read

McKeesport approves medical marijuana venture

2/17/17--On Friday, the city of McKeesport's planning commission approved a proposal to turn a vacant industrial site into a growing and processing site for medical marijuana. The state is accepting applications from potential growers and distributors, and the project – by a group called PurePenn – must get local approvals first. Read

Amtrak engineer in deadly crash tested positive for marijuana

1/26/17--The 47-year-old train engineer in a deadly Amtrak crash that killed two workers near Philadelphia last year tested positive for marijuana, according to documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The locomotive was going 106 mph in an area where the speed limit was 110 mph. Read

Medical marijuana facility gains zoning approval from Covington Twp.

1/13/17--True Healthy Choice has gained zoning approval from Covington Twp. The Dunmore-based company will grow, process, and refine cannabis to forms approved by the state. True Healthy Choice has gathered a team of experts in cannabis cultivation, compound extraction, and security to develop operations. Read

Medical marijuana rules advance in City Council

12/3/16--City Council Committee on Rules voted to move an amendment sponsored by Councilmen Derek S. Green and Bobby Henon that allows for zoning of medical marijuana growers, price processors, check and dispensaries within the city. Bill 160919 defines “medical marijuana dispensary, cialis ” “medical marijuana growing and processing facility,” and outlines regulations and standards with regard to zoning and distance requirements for dispensaries and growing facilities. Read

Pennsylvania advances rules under new medical marijuana law

10/25/16--The state moved a few steps closer to setting up a medical marijuana program on Tuesday as the health department posted draft rules for dispensaries and said temporary regulations for growers and processors would be made public in a few days. The draft regulations for dispensaries would prohibit facilities within 1,000 feet of schools or day care centers and require employees to be at least 18 years old. Visitors would be notified they are under video surveillance inside the establishments. Read