Pennsylvania's 1st medical marijuana dispensaries to open this week

Updated 2 hours ago

Pennsylvania’s first cannabis dispensaries will open their doors to patients and caregivers this week, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday.

“Pennsylvanians have been waiting years for this moment,” Wolf said in a statement revealing details on when and where medical marijuana will be available. “Medical marijuana is legal, safe and now available to Pennsylvanians suffering from 17 medical conditions.”

Wolf, a Democrat, signed the state’s medical marijuana bill into law nearly two years ago with support from a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

Between Thursday and Saturday, six dispensaries approved by the state Department of Health — including locations in Butler and Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood — will see their first certified patients and caregivers.

Westmoreland County resident Diana Briggs, 47, a registered caregiver from Export, has one of the very first appointments.

Shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday, Briggs plans to arrive at the Butler dispensary on Pillow Street called Cresco Yeltrah+, or CY+.

Her 17-year-old son, Ryan, who suffers from epilepsy, among other debilitating medical conditions, was among the first to be evaluated by Compassionate Certification Centers in December. She received a medical marijuana caregiver card to administer a cannabis oil that helps the reduce the number of seizures her son suffers daily.

She’s elated that she’ll soon be able to obtain and transport the oil for the first time without breaking state law.

“To be able to walk into a dispensary in Pennsylvania and have it all be legal, to legally have this medicine that has changed my child’s life, I don’t even know what that’s going to feel like,” Briggs told the Tribune-Review by phone Tuesday.

Under the law’s “safe harbor” provision — which allows caretakers of those younger than 18 to obtain medicine from other states — Ryan has been taking marijuana for treatment.

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