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PA.’s Medical Pot Law Gets High Ratings

By Evan Brandt, MARCH 12, 2017 — 8:50 AM — Published by: Daily Times News

As a rush of medical marijuana investors flood Southeastern Pennsylvania in the scramble to obtain one of the two growing permits allotted to the region, the law that makes it all possible is already being graded.

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law, enacted last April, has received a B-minus in the annual report from Americans for Safe Access, “a national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research,” which is how their web site describes their mission.

“We’re hoping next year, Pennsylvania’s grade will stay constant or even go up,” said Steph Sherer, executive director at Americans for Safe Access.

The report, “A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” determines grades by setting a number of fixed parameters, such as “patient rights/civil protection,” “access to medicine,” and “consumer safety and provider requirement” and measuring the laws in each of the 44 states which have made medical marijuana legal against those benchmarks.

Pennsylvania’s law — not yet fully implemented — received high marks for its functionality and ease of navigation, neither of which has been field-tested yet as the medicine is not yet being distributed.

It received lower marks for protections of patient rights, access to medicine and the lowest (37 out of 100) for consumer safety and provider requirements, but mostly that’s because ASA wants to see how they are implemented, said Sherer.

“If Pennsylvania can move through the implementation process in a timely manner and adopt strong product safety protocols, like those outlined in this report, it could be one of the stronger programs in the country,” she said.

Since Pennsylvania passed its law last year, five other states have legalized recreational use of marijuana and four more have passed medicinal use bills.

ASA was very involved in the crafting of Pennsylvania’s law and Sherer singled out Lebanon County-based state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-48th Dist., for his advocacy.

“The thing that stood out for us in Pennsylvania was the very real compassion that the lawmakers had for the patients and they really made sure it was a patient-centered law,” she said.

The law was co-sponsored by Montgomery County Democrat Daylin Leach, D-17th Dist.

Sherer faulted Pennsylvania’s law for not allowing home cultivation, which will delay access to patients who need relief now, and for failing to change intoxicated driving laws, which means that patients using marijuana-based products can still be arrested for DUI, as well as prohibitions against smoking the products.

“The best word for it is ‘inhalation’ and medically speaking, that’s really the gold standard of delivery systems, it doesn’t have to go through your stomach or skin, it’s the fastest way to the blood stream,” Sherer said.

“But I understand the optics and we can’t undo decades of propaganda around cannabis,” said Sherer, noting that Pennsylvania’s law has a “very comprehensive” list of medical ailments for which medical marijuana products can be prescribed.

“I think Pennsylvania’s law is going to work well because they are focused on implementing it quickly, so they have taken a phased approach which, as a businessman, I think is very astute,” said Jon Cohn.

He is the chief operating officer of Keystone Medical Cannabis LLC, which Wednesday night pitched its proposal for a growing and processing facility in the Titan Steel building at 740 Queen St. in Pottstown.

“So where we lost points (in the Americans for Safe Access report) is more because the system has not been put in place yet than because of it being poorly designed,” Cohn said of Pennsylvania’s law. “Some of the parameters have not been defined because they come later in the process. For example, there’s no reason to hold up licensing a facility getting it started because you want to write rules for something that hasn’t even grown one plant yet.”

Many of the law’s flaws and benefits will be played out in Southeast Pennsylvania, which has fully 40 percent of the Commonwealth’s potential patients, according to the research Cohn’s presented to Pottstown borough council.

It is just one of a half-dozen proposals appearing before municipal boards seeking approval and support in the quest for the two grow permits and 10 dispensary permits that will be issued by the state for the six-county region.

Proposals have been fielded in West Pottsgrove, Lower Pottsgrove, Limerick (which has now merged with the Pottstown plan), Bridgeport and the Delaware County Township of Aston.

“My partner told me today that there are already 25 applications for this region,” Cohn told Digital First Media Friday.

Perhaps that the interest is due to the fact that Southeast Pennsylvania has four of the 30 largest cancer centers in the United States and has the largest number of post traumatic stress disorder and pain management patients in the state, according to Cohn’s research.

“I’m a veteran with chronic pain, so just not sure what to do,” John F. McKinnon Jr. posted on The Mercury’s Facebook page in response to a request for opinions. “The VA will not even talk to us about medical marijuana, but have no issues prescribing opioids.”

Cohn said if successful, his enterprise hopes to engage with Veterans Administration doctors to see if medical marijuana can be used to treat not only pain, but also the PTSD often experienced by vets.

He also pointed out that using marijuana-derived products for pain management could help reduce the opioid crisis currently ravaging Pennsylvania and other states.

Sherer agreed, and pointed to the reference in the ASA report that a 2014 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states which have legalized medical marijuana have an opioid overdose mortality rate nearly 25 percent lower than those which do not.

Sherer’s advocacy has more than just professional meaning for her.

When she was in her 20s, she was suffering from a disease called dystonia, an inflammation disorder, and the pharmaceuticals she was taking for it were causing liver failure.

“So I had a choice between being on dialysis for the rest of my life, or not being able to get out of bed. One day my doctor came in, shut the door and asked if I used marijuana. I said ‘no’ and he asked if I knew where I could get some and at first I thought he wanted me to get some for him,” Sherer said with a laugh.

“But he said no, he had other patients who were responding well to using it and suggested I give it a try and that was 16 years ago,” Sherer said. “I have no idea where I would be right now without it. And then I realized there must be other like me and there wasn’t really anyone advocating for this from a patient’s perspective,” which is how ASA, which turns 15 in April, got started.

Similar stories were posted on The Mercury’s Facebook page, in response to a query seeking reader opinions.

“My one son is autistic and suffers from SPD as anxiety and I also think some form of this beautiful plant can help him,” Meghan Shanta Chambers posted.

Lauren Pickard is already familiar with the benefits of medical marijuana products.

“My daughter is currently a medical marijuana patient under the safe harbor clause, we’ve received the letter from the department of health allowing us to obtain medical marijuana from another legal state. She currently uses Haleigh’s Hope from CO, and was able to come off all five pharmaceuticals and is now seizure free, something the medications, and even brain surgery, couldn’t do,” Pickard wrote.

“My concern is how this access will change once the first dispensary opens, as it states in the safe harbor letter, it expires in 2018 or when the first dispensary opens. My concern is that when expiration happens, we’ll no longer be able to legally obtain her medication from out of state. I would not be interested in trying a different product because this one works so well, and could compromise all the progress she’s made in the past year — from 60-80 seizures a day and night while on pharmaceuticals, to 0 on cannabis oil and a strict clean eating diet,” Pickard wrote.

“I have a very close friend with cancer. She’s constantly in pain and doctors just keep putting her on more and more medications,” wrote Stephanie Walk. “Use of medical marijuana could greatly decrease the number of pills she needs to take for pain management …. and maybe even help her finally get into remission.”

“My mother has chronic nerve pain and problems sleeping, both made better with the use of medicinal marijuana,” wrote Brandy Lee Doll Yea. “I think something with so many benefits needs to be made available to the people who need it.”

Laura Johnson wrote, “I have a relative who has a slow moving cancer and is also a paraplegic with lots of pain. He is hoping to be able to use it since other meds are ineffective or make him incapacitated.”

“My grandmother was hospitalized over Christmas with lung clots and she also has really bad arthritis in her knees and hips,” wrote Melanie Morgan. “We have been wishing for this to be legal for a while now because all of her doctors agree that it would be more helpful and better for her than narcotics.”

It is people like, Sherer said, that her organization’s advocacy is aiming to help.

“Really, we believe the best case scenario is for the state to get out of the way of the relationship between doctor and patient and leave medicine up to the doctors, but as laws go, I’m cautiously optimistic that Pennsylvania’s may be one of the best in the country,” Sherer said.

Maria CaligiuriPA.’s Medical Pot Law Gets High Ratings
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Legal Marijuana Could Overtake Manufacturing in Job Creation by 2020

By Melia Robinson, MARCH 3, 2017 — 1:045 PM — Published by: Business Insider


Marijuana could be the next mega-industry in the US.

A new report from New Frontier Data, a business intelligence firm focused on cannabis, projects the legal weed market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020. In comparison, manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 814,000 by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2016 was a watershed year for the budding industry. Eight states voted to legalize pot in some form, bringing the number of states with comprehensive medical marijuana laws to 28. One in five Americans can legally get high without a letter from a doctor.

As more people leave the black market for the safety, convenience, and product diversity that legal dispensaries offer, the industry’s job growth could explode.

Legal marijuana businesses employed an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 workers in January, according to the Marijuana Business Daily. That estimate includes growers, scientists, dispensary employees, and tech entrepreneurs developing ancillary services like the “Yelp of weed” or “Uber for pot.”

New Frontier based its projections on an analysis from the Marijuana Policy Group, an economic and policy cannabis consulting firm that works with the state of Colorado. The report assumes every state will have a medical and adult-use market in place by 2020 — a rather optimistic outlook. It’s also banking on the belief that President Donald Trump will stand by his vow to support states’ rights to legislate their own marijuana policy, despite warnings of a crackdown from Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, founder and CEO of New Frontier Data, described the forecast as “an optimal view of the market that demonstrates what potential job creation could be if legal cannabis is operating freely and openly,” in a statement.

There’s some evidence to suggest New Frontier’s projections are on the right track. In Colorado, which legalized pot outright in 2012 and opened the recreational market in 2014, the industry has created roughly 18,000 jobs, according to the Marijuana Policy Group.

California, home to the world’s sixth largest economy, fully legalized marijuana last November. Its state capital region alone could see 20,000 jobs created if it becomes a hub for the industry.

The legal marijuana market is expected to top $24.5 billion in 2025, based solely on the states that passed medical or recreational legalization initiatives before 2017.

Maria CaligiuriLegal Marijuana Could Overtake Manufacturing in Job Creation by 2020
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Encouraging Cannabis Community Outreach and Integration

How do new patients become better integrated into the cannabis community? In what ways can access to medicine be improved for the low-income population?

Due to the long list of health benefits that come from the plant, nationwide support for cannabis is spreading like wildfire, and these questions are vital as the industry grows. Many people living with serious and chronic diseases have some idea of how medical marijuana can help them, but are not exactly familiar with the science or policy behind obtaining medicine in their state.

Through an additional memo released in August of 2016 by the PA Department of Health, a few preliminary elements and rules of the medical cannabis program have been revealed. Below are some of the ways in which businesses can go beyond the regulatory requirements by reaching out, supporting and integrating with their communities.


Local Transparency

In addition to the state-appointed Advisory Board, which will be made up of several types of community members, there are plenty of opportunities to form strong support and accountability systems on the local level. Cannabis businesses in Pennsylvania must do their part to give back to the local community, while at the same time serving as an example of how a legal cannabis operation should be run.

Holding memberships in local organizations and chambers of commerce, providing educational resources and offering tours of your business space are a few ways to draw the community into the process. Whether enlightening patients on some of the science of cannabis, or sharing your business insight, there’s always information you can share.


Financial Support

For many low-income patients, the price of medical cannabis can often often dictate whether they eat or relieve their symptoms that day. Improving access for these patients is critical because they are often the most at risk for further health deterioration.

In regard to helping such patients access the medical cannabis system, Pennsylvania will have a fee waiver for patient applicants who are considered low income. Beyond that, businesses can help lighten the load, too. Dispensaries and grower/processors can easily partner up to develop an impactful low-income discount program.


Encouraging Diversity

Based on the draft rules released by the PA Department of Health, each permitted medical marijuana business in the state will be required to develop and implement a diversity plan. This provision was included in order to combat an apparent lack of diversity in other states’ medical cannabis business communities. Apart from making diverse new hires, companies can encourage diversity in the local industry by holding or sponsoring events that specifically reach out to diverse communities.

Without close community involvement, Pennsylvania communities run the risk of low participation numbers in the program, as seen in New York and Illinois. In order to stimulate the medical cannabis economy in our state, it is imperative that new and disadvantaged patients are brought into the fold through advocacy and education.
The Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society is committed to assisting all the working parts of our state’s medical cannabis industry, especially license applicants and business owners. See our industry resources page and consider the perks of membership today for your growing business – or, collaborate with us on one of our engaging and educational cannabis community events.


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Maria CaligiuriEncouraging Cannabis Community Outreach and Integration
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Pa. Auditor General: Legalize Pot to Close Budget Gap

By Karen Langley, MARCH 6, 2017 — 6:04 PM EST — Published by: The Inquirer Daily News


HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says he knows where the state could find money to help close its budget gap: Allow — and tax — recreational use of marijuana.

At a Capitol news conference Monday, DePasqule said he estimates Pennsylvania could bring in $200 million a year by regulating and taxing marijuana. That projection is based on the model of marijuana regulation used in Colorado, which DePasquale said generated $129 million in a year from a population smaller than that of Pennsylvania.

“I wasn’t necessarily convinced Pennsylvania should be the first, but now that we have actual results and data from other states, the evidence is clear that this can be both good socially and fiscally,” DePasquale said.

In 2016, taxing marijuana brought in $220 million in Washington, $129 million in Colorado, and $65.4 million in Oregon, according to DePasquale’s office.

Pennsylvania has a budget shortfall projected at nearly $3 billion over this year and the next. In February, Gov. Wolf proposed closing that gap through a combination of spending reductions and new taxes.

The auditor general, who serves as the state’s fiscal watchdog, said that taxing marijuana use is one of a number of suggestions he expects to make about how the state can close the gap .

DePasquale acknowledged without prompting that there may be reason to doubt that Pennsylvania will legalize recreational marijuana anytime soon. The state authorized medical marijuana in April 2016, and that program is not expected to be fully in place until 2018.

“We don’t even have the medical cannabis program up and running yet, so it’s clearly a little premature to jump to the next step,” House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said.

“While we’re appreciative of the auditor general’s multiple policy thoughts, as Pennsylvania and the nation is facing a serious drug problem, I’m not sure that legalizing a Schedule I narcotic is the best response.”

“It is an entirely fair and appropriate question to say: Can this even happen in Pennsylvania?” he said.

But he noted that a little more than a decade ago, people might not have expected that gay couples would now be allowed to marry and that medical marijuana would have been overwhelmingly approved.

Maria CaligiuriPa. Auditor General: Legalize Pot to Close Budget Gap
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Will Pot be Cash Cow for Pennsylvania?

, MARCH 6, 2017 —  Published by: The Tribune-Democrat


HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said on Monday the state could generate $200 million a year by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and raking in the tax revenue from the sale of the drug.

DePasquale said that as recreational marijuana has become legal in more states, it’s becoming clearer that states can effectively regulate the process to mitigate potential problems.

With the state struggling to find a way to close a multi-billion deficit, the extra money could be put to good use, he said.

It’s also becoming clearer that the public is open to the move, he said.

“The public is moving in this direction,” DePasquale said. “We aren’t rushing into anything.”

Eight states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana — California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. In many of those states, the legalization came about after voters approved ballot measures.

“It’s hard to find a case where it’s been on the ballot where it didn’t pass,” DePasquale said. He added that several states neighboring Pennsylvania have begun to flirt with the idea of relaxing their marijuana laws.

DePasquale based his $200 million revenue estimate on the windfall in Colorado. That state got $129 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana, last year. But Colorado’s has only half the population of Pennsylvania, DePasquale said.

The suggestion comes a week after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had warned that the Department of Justice will consider whether it should take action against states that are flouting federal drug laws by relaxing marijuana laws.

DePasquale said he doesn’t believe the attorney general’s opposition should prevent the state from acting. He said it’s unlikely the federal government would be willing to do something as unpopular as trying to roll back state marijuana laws.

“If you think other things have started a backlash, if they start doing raids on people following the laws in their states, they are going to see a backlash unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” DePasquale said.

The idea also faces substantial headwinds at the Capitol.

Gov. Tom Wolf supports decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, his spokesman J.J. Abbott said. The governor has stopped short of backing completely legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

“The governor wants further study of the impact and implementation of full legalization on other states like Colorado before proceeding with that approach in Pennsylvania,” Abbott said.

The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is opposed to both legalizing marijuana for recreational use and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug, said Richard Long, executive director of the prosecutors’ group. Long said the DAs considered the issue of marijuana legalization as the state examined medical marijuana.

The prosecutors group has been pushing for more efficient ways to quickly resolve cases involving possession of small amounts marijuana, he said.

Long described this as “streamlining” the process so that cases are concluded at the district magistrate’s court without having to involve a county judge.

“That’s a bit of fallacy, that prisons are filled with people who were arrested for possession,” he said.

State Rep. Tedd Nesbit, R-Mercer County, said it doesn’t feel like a good time to relax drug laws when the state is reeling from an opioid and heroin abuse epidemic. Nesbit is a member of the House judiciary committee.

He wasn’t the only elected official to suggest the timing of the idea is bad.

DePasquale’s call comes as the state’s move to open the door to the medical use of marijuana is just getting underway.

One of the lawmakers who led the campaign to get medical marijuana legalized said the time’s not right to make the jump to legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

State Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, said DePasquale “brought up rational points.” Folmer said one concern is that some of the most obstinate opposition to medical marijuana came from people who asserted that the medical marijuana lobby was just a pretext to open the door to broader relaxation of drug laws, Folmer said.

“Down the road, the debate will come up,” Folmer said. “But I’m not bringing it up.”

His opposition mainly centers on fear that the push for recreational marijuana legalization would interfere with efforts to establish an effective medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania.

Folmer said that most states that have relaxed marijuana laws gave their residents access to medical marijuana years ago. Pennsylvania has yet to directly help a single patient with medical marijuana.

“We need to concentrate on medical marijuana,” he said. “I need that program to be successful.”

Shifting attention to recreational marijuana would “muddy the waters,” Folmer said.

The deadline for applications from prospective growers and processors is March 20.

Estimates created by legislative analysts projected that the state would get between $10 million and $20 million in application fees from medical marijuana growers, dispensaries and patients. The state would also get $20 million and $40 million a year in revenue from a 6 percent tax on the sale of medical marijuana.

DePasquale said he recognizes that the idea of relaxing the law to allow recreational use of marijuana would be controversial. But, recent history shows that public sentiment can get the government to embrace change more quickly than expected.

“You don’t know if you don’t try,” he said. “And in 2006, if I’d have said that by 2016 in Pennsylvania we’d have marriage equality and medical marijuana, you’d have thought I was crazy.”


John Finnerty is based in Harrisburg and covers state government and politics. Follow him on Twitter @CNHIPA.

Maria CaligiuriWill Pot be Cash Cow for Pennsylvania?
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Of Charlatans and Snake Oil – PA’s Medical Marijuana Law is Still in its Infancy

As Pennsylvania implements Act 16, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law, there has necessarily been a lot of excitement, a lot of interest, and a lot of people trying to find ways to make money.  The grow and dispensary licenses have been referred to as “a license to print money.”  While that may or may not be true, there are clearly many opportunities to participate in the medical cannabis marketplace.

Unfortunately, we have seen some unscrupulous individuals trying to “cash in” on the hopes and ignorance of sick Pennsylvanians.  I have seen physicians advertising that they can make medical marijuana recommendations for Pennsylvania patients.  These physicians will charge a consultation fee and allegedly provide some type of assessment and recommendation.  

This may sound good at first glance, but it is illegal under Act 16.  Act 16 provides specific rules for physicians who want to recommend medical cannabis for their patients.  First and foremost, a physician MUST register with the Department of Health.  A physician can only do that AFTER completing a 4 hour training course that has yet to be developed.  Until a physician completes the training course and registers with the Department he or she CANNOT make a medical cannabis recommendation.  Additionally, Act 16 specifically prohibits a physician from advertising that they can make a medical cannabis recommendation.  

I know Pennsylvania patients are desperate to legally access Pennsylvania produced medical cannabis products.  Our patient population must know that these individuals are simply defrauding them.  If a potential patient wants to know whether they may qualify for a medical cannabis recommendation they need look no further than the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Website.

Similarly, there has been a significant amount of confusion and undue optimism about “legal” CBD oil readily available in Pennsylvania.  CBD is cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in both cannabis sativa and its derivatives (marijuana) and cannabis ruderalis (hemp).  Some hemp derived products, such as hemp clothing, hemp seeds and hemp milk, are legally sold in the United States.  The source material is grown overseas and the processed or refined products are sold in the US.  

CBD oil extracted from hemp plants has been gaining in popularity and has been marketed as “legal in all 50 states.”  Unfortunately, it is considered a Schedule I controlled substance by the DEA because it has trace amounts of THC (one could not possibly get “high”, but it’s enough to trigger the Schedule I classification).  Additionally, the CBD oil being sold is extracted from plants grown overseas.  Unlike Act 16 with strict testing protocols and pesticide restrictions a patient has absolutely no idea what conditions the hemp plants were grown in.  The source plants could have mold, pesticides, commercial fertilizers, etc.  Compare and contrast that with a CBD oil produced in Colorado, such as Quicksilver Scientific, which is produced under highly regulated conditions and subject to strict third party testing.

Pennsylvania patients are anxious to participate in Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program.  Unfortunately they must wait for the program to be fully implemented, for physicians to register with the program, and for licensed grows and dispensaries to offer high quality medicines, whether CBD or THC.  


Until then, beware the Charlatans and Snake Oil.
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Maria CaligiuriOf Charlatans and Snake Oil – PA’s Medical Marijuana Law is Still in its Infancy
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Pitt Alum Offers Legal Advice for Cannabis Industry

By Rebecca Peters, March 3, 2017 – Published by The Pitt News:

Pitt alumna Sarah Carlins is making Pennsylvania a little greener, one court case at a time.

As chair of Houston Harbaugh’s Health Care Law Department in Pittsburgh, Carlins provides legal counsel and representation to business owners, patients, employees and shareholders in the medical cannabis industry — a growing business due to recent legislation. Senate Bill 3, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law last April, allows patients who are under a physician’s care to use medical marijuana for the treatment of a serious medical condition, such as autism, cancer or Crohn’s disease.

“The fact that medical marijuana was recently legalized in Pennsylvania means that yes, there is now new ‘law’ to interpret and abide — in the form of new regulations, for example,” Carlins said.

Houston Harbaugh’s Health Care Law Department has seven lawyers, including Carlins, working with different sectors of medical cannabis: labor, employment, real estate, health care and corporate.

Health care law deals with changes in regulation and insurance protocols for physician groups and business counsel for hospitals and institutions, among other legal needs. In connection to medical marijuana, health care law applies to dispensaries, growers and laboratories.

These groups, in addition to medical marijuana distributors, also need to make sure they are compliant with the Pennsylvania labor laws as well as with Pennsylvania real estate code. This is where the labor and employment sector of the law department comes in.

Farms, production companies and dispensaries function like any other business entity in Pennsylvania, so their corporate legal needs are similar, such as managing shareholders to investors.

At Houston Harbaugh, Carlins — who received a law degree, an MBA and a master’s degree in International Affairs from Pitt — is in charge of each sector. Two months ago, she began working for the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society, a trade group that provides educational monthly meetings about civic engagement, professional development, lobbying and industry partnerships. She helps coordinate communication between PAMCS members and health care lawyers while serving as a medical and research adviser for the company.

After three separate graduate programs, Carlins found purpose in social policy and social justice cases. The human interest angle in health care law compels Carlins more than tax law, she said.

“There are moms of desperately ill kids who didn’t have medical treatment options that other pediatric organizations did [until Senate Bill 3 passed],” Carlins said. “As a mom, that resonates with your heart and immediately pulls you.”

Tom Perko, president of PAMCS, said the company hired Carlins as counsel when he was filing PAMCS as a business entity to ensure he was following state and federal laws. After the filing, Perko hired Carlins as general counsel, given her background in health care law.

“Having counsel that can navigate this space and has experience in health practice and law is a very suitable component of what we need,” Perko, 33, said.

To alleviate their symptoms, patients ingest cannabidiol oil, which is an extract from the marijuana plant that does not provide a high. Since the oil is ingested, it needs to be regulated agriculturally and manufacturally to protect from impurities or contaminants. This is where health law comes into play, Perko said.

“We need an education platform for medical professionals, community leaders, industry professionals and anyone who can consume [medical cannabis] or knows someone [who does],” Perko said.

PAMCS, which has offices in Carnegie and Harrisburg, hosts monthly educational events that reach out to all stakeholders in the medical cannabis process

For Carlins, the educational and outreach component of the organization was key.

“[Medical cannabis] is an uncharted area,” she said. “It’s really so easy to get behind, especially when you think about how the legislation got passed in PA.”

Even in states that have legalized or decriminalized cannabis, education and legal support is still needed. Daniel Perlman, a criminal defense attorney from Los Angeles said as a criminal defense attorney, he encountered drug cases — including marijuana possession, sales, trafficking and cultivating — despite the state legalizing marijuana in 2016.

According to Perlman, marijuana defense lawyers go through the same bar processes as any other kind of lawyer — they specialize in their area of interest later after passing the exam.

“Under most state’s licensing of lawyers, being admitted to the bar gives an attorney permission to practice any kind of law,” he said.

According to Perlman, a lawyer’s schooling doesn’t stop once they pass their bar exam — if they want to specialize in working with marijuana, they must go to conferences and seminars to learn about what it means to be a marijuana defense lawyer.

“Outside of trial practice seminars, law schools don’t usually provide specific classes on defense work,” he said. The American Bar Association requires legal education seminars and help lawyers stay up to date with medical cannabis policy in their state.

In reaction to recent medical developments, Pitt’s law school offered LAW 5503: Federalism and Health Policy Seminar for the fall semester, covering the legalization of medical marijuana, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

According to Pitt Law’s website, the seminar discussed how “the interrelationship between the constitutional structure of federal and state governments and the piecemeal development of the U.S. health care system leads to fractured methods of regulating that system.”

While understanding the consequences of new policy is important, providing counsel to businesses remains relatively the same, Carlins said — law as usual.

“It simply adds another area in which we will do what we already do as lawyers: guide and counsel clients on how to comply with the law and do business best within those parameters,” Carlins said.



Allyson RossPitt Alum Offers Legal Advice for Cannabis Industry
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Three Marijuana Growers Eyeing Hanover-Adams

By Lindsay C. VanAsdalan, March 2, 2017 at 5:54 PM – Published by The Evening Sun News:

Three companies are applying for permits to operate medical marijuana growing/processing facilities and dispensaries in the Hanover-Adams area.

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program became effective in May, allowing for four marijuana dispensaries and two processing facilities in each of six regions in the state, as established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Of the six regions created by the state, the Southcentral region encompasses several counties including York and Adams, where several projects have been proposed.

Each of the companies associated with these projects was created solely for the purpose of applying for a marijuana permit.

In Penn Township, a team led by Greg Rochlin — who The Baltimore Sun reported had previously applied for a marijuana facility in Maryland — purchased an existing land development plan for iLera Healthcare from water testing company AquaPhoenix Scientific at 12 Industrial Drive.

AquaPhoenix purchased the land in 2015 to build an approximately 120,000-square foot warehouse and was approved for five years.

Because iLera plans to build a facility for 100,000 square feet within the footprint of the original plan, the company did not need to appear for a public hearing, said Penn Township manager Kristina Rodgers.

iLera representatives presented development plans to the Penn Township board of commissioners at a February public safety meeting. No one from the public was in attendance.

Companies have until mid-March to apply for the permits. If approved, iLera will return to the township to apply for building permits.

The company’s representatives also discussed working with the Penn Township Police Department should any security issues arise.

iLera is also planning to open marijuana dispensaries in southeastern Pennsylvania, according to materials from its presentation before the township. The Penn location was chosen for the processing facility because of its central location in the state and its access to a diverse workforce.

An additional processing facility is planned for Cumberland Township and a dispensary is planned for Gettysburg.

Adams Compassion Care, a company based out of Gettysburg, formed a local team led by managing partner and local businessman Bill Monahan, along with out-of-state industry experts with five years experience in growing and dispensing marijuana.

The team received local approval from the township, as well as county support of the plans.

“We found a home,” said Les Hollis, Adams Compassion Care consultant. “We’re not going to try to put a marijuana facility in a place people don’t want it.”

The facility would be 100,000 square feet, located in the industrial zone of Cumberland Township at 1200 Biglerville Road. At capacity, it would employ 50 to 70 people.

Lebanon Wellness is looking to open the Gettysburg facility — which would be a marijuana dispensary — at 19 Baltimore Street. Gettysburg borough council officials voted 6-1 in February to send a letter to the state verifying the marijuana facility is legally allowed to exist in the old town district as retail.

Related: Littlestown council supports medical marijuana

Council member Susan Naugle cast the lone dissenting vote, citing that she had received calls of concern from constituents about the facility being located in the downtown area.

“(It) can be a hot button issue socially,” said Gettysburg manager Charles Gable of the proposed facility. However, he said, “As ordinances are written, staff has no authority to decline.”

If approved, the dispensary permit would include three locations in Gettysburg, Lebanon and Altoona. The dispensaries are projected to create 8-12 jobs at each location.

Other businesses in York County have also been seeking approval for dispensary and processor locations. The deadline to apply is March 20.

Allyson RossThree Marijuana Growers Eyeing Hanover-Adams
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The Future of Cannabis in the United States: Top Cannabis Experts Head to Atlantic City to for a Major B2B Event.

The most comprehensive lineup of real cannabis experts ever assembled on the east coast heads to Meet the Experts V to meet with cannabis industry participants.


If you are interested in the business of cannabis, meet the most comprehensive roster of speakers ever gathered on the east coast.

Meet the Experts V, Spring Break Atlantic City
Tickets and full details

Full Agenda for Meet the Experts V, Spring Break

Friday March 17-Optional Early registration and St Patrick’s Day Party
Saturday March 18- 8-9am Conference -registration. Free Breakfast
First Legal/Regulations session-Overview
9-9:15am-Robert Platshorn & Rhory Gould Welcome to Meet the Experts
9:15am-9:45- Michael Minardi – Lawyer / Activist First lawyer to successfully argue a patients need to grow marijuana. The changing laws around the country.
9:45-10:15am-Charles Smith Esq.-NY Attorney-Advises cannabis companies on licensing and compliance. New York’s expanding cannabis regulations.
10:15-10:45am- Patrick Nightingale – Lawyer / Advocate Cannabis Law Specialist. Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society
10:45-11:15 pm- Neill Franklin -LEAP-Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – state and federal status of cannabis and hemp.
11:15pm-Noon- Henry Wykowski -Legal / Banking Wykowski Law Group is considered the preeminent experts on cannabis tax and banking laws.
Lunch Noon to 1pm-Join us for a Free 1st Class Networking Lunch
First Medical Session-Overview
1-1:45pm- Dr Robert Melemede -“Dr. Bob” is recognized as a leading authority on the therapeutic uses of cannabis. . PhD. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
1:45-2:30pm-Dr Denis Petro- Neurologist. Researched cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis patients. Served as an expert witness for many cases concerning medical cannabis.
First Licensing and Regulations Session-Overview
Keynote Speakers
2:30-4pm-Ean Seeb/Nick Hice –Denver Relief Consulting-License Application,
Dispensary Compliance, Security, Design
4-4:20pm- Take a Break-Network-Snacks and Beverages
First Growing Session-Overview
4:20-5pm-Danny Danko – High Times Magazine Cultivation Editor. Author of The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains. Strains and Hybrids.
5:00-5:45pm-Mike Boutin -Star of Discovery Channel’s Weed Country. Growing Cannabis-How to choose. Indoor, outdoor, or greenhouse??
5:45 pm Networking Wine and Cheese Party

Sunday March 19- 8-9am Conference Breakfast
Morning General Session
9-9:30 am-Irvin Rosenfeld -Federal Marijuana Patient-Stock Broker, Bus. Consultant
9:30-10am-Russ Belville -Activist, broadcaster and writer. The Russ Belville Show. Pro and Con State Regulations.
10-10:30am-Scheril Murray Powell, Esq attorney-General Counsel, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana
10:30-11am-Michael Zaytsev -Author, activist, leads High NY. Cannabis education and networking events in NYC
11-11:30am-Michael Thue- CEO & Founder of Great Lakes Hemp Supplements, LLC and the Center for Compassion, LLC.
11:30-Noon-Ken Wolski, RN -Cannabis medical law specialist and Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.
Lunch Noon to 1pm-Join us for a Free 1st Class Networking Lunch

3 Breakout Sessions-1pm-4pm
1. Medical Advances and Treatment-Panel
Dr Denis Petro- Neurologist. Researched cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis patients. Served as an expert witness for many cases concerning medical cannabis.
Dr Robert Melemede -“Dr. Bob” is recognized as the leading authority on the therapeutic uses of cannabis. . PhD. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
Ken Wolski -RN, Cannabis medical law specialist and Executive Director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.
Robert Platshorn- The Silver Tour. The senior market for cannabis.

2. Legal Regulations, Compliance and Licensing-Panel
Scott Rudder-President NJ CannaBusiness Association. The cannabis industry in NJ.
Patrick Nightingale – Lawyer / Advocate Cannabis Law Specialist. Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society- Law Specialist. Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society
Charles Smith Esq.-NY Licensing & compliance. NY expanding cannabis regulations.
Michael Minardi – Lawyer / Activist First lawyer to successfully argue a patients need to grow marijuana. The changing laws around the country.
3. Grow and Dispensary Operations-Panel
Danny Danko – High Times Magazine Cultivation Editor. Author of The Official High Times Field Guide to Marijuana Strains. Strains and Hybrids.
Mike Boutin -Star of Discovery Channel’s Weed Country. Growing Cannabis-How to choose. Indoor, outdoor, or greenhouse?
Simon Sui-Solis Tech-Digital lighting. Higher yields, Lower costs.
David Goldstein- PotBotics, a top 10 medical cannabis technology company.
Rhory Gould- Arborside- dispensary operations and staffing.
4 pm Final Networking Reception

Robert Platshorn
The Silver Tour

Maria CaligiuriThe Future of Cannabis in the United States: Top Cannabis Experts Head to Atlantic City to for a Major B2B Event.
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