PA: Local Plant Grower Hosts Medical Marijuana Forum In Drums


Patients must have one of 16 conditions such as cancer, AIDS, epilepsy or glaucoma, to obtain medical marijuana, attorney William Roark said while explaining Pennsylvanias new law Wedsnesday evening at a Butler Township restaurant.

Then, Roark said, a doctor must recognize their condition and write a voucher that patients and caregivers can use to get an identification card from the state Department of Health that allows them to buy marijuana at a licensed dispensary.

Roark is working with the van Hoekelens who want to raise marijuana in Kline Township greenhouses where the family has grown decorative plants for nearly 30 years.

The family, which started a separate company, TheraBloom, for the marijuana project, invited local leaders to Theodoras Restaurant in Drums for a forum about medical marijuana.

Roark, of the Lansdale firm Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell said marijuana will be more regulated than opioids, which any doctor can now prescribe.

The state law limits the forms in which marijuana may be processed, sold and ingested such as oils, liquids, creams and pills, but it cannot be sold as leaves, buds or edibles. It can be applied topically, taken beneath the tongue and administered with vaporizers and nebulizers, but cannot be smoked. The law also spells out security plans for growers and distillers, detailing where to place security cameras and requiring them to keep operations indoors with electronic locks.

Tyler Stratford, a consultant helping TheraBloom apply for one of Pennsylvanias 25 licenses to grow and process marijuana, said marijuana was first used as medicine in China 5,000 years ago.

Stratford works for MJ Freeway, a Colorado firm with expertise in tracking marijuana from seeds to sale of finished products, one of the requirements of the Pennsylvania law.

Ed Pane, a drug counselor for 40 years in the Hazleton area, said in the centuries that marijuana has been used, no overdose death ever has been recorded from it.

That contrasts with the deaths from opioids that are increasing nationwide, he said.

Pane first advocated in favor of medical marijuana among his peers in 1999 and testified in favor of it before the state Legislature.

I could only recognize the value of what this plant has in it, Pane said. He specifically mentioned marijuanas ability to help children with seizures and relieve pain of multiple sclerosis patients.

Most of the research on the medical effects of marijuana has been done abroad because U.S. authorities have limited scientists access to marijuana, Pane said.

State Sen. David Argall, R-29, Tamaqua, said conservative and liberal members of the Legislature teamed up to support medical marijuana. Sponsors of the bill asked patients with terrible diseases to visit lawmakers in their offices. Medical marijuana might not help all of us, but if it helps some of us its worth it, the patients told lawmakers.

That was the winning argument, Argall said.

State Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-116, Butler Township, said one child had a seizure on the Capitol steps the day of the vote in April.

TheraBloom, Toohil said, is on the cusp of something that could be beautiful and healing.

Dr. Deborah Mistal, the van Hoekelens family physician, said medical marijuana might not be available for patients in Pennsylvania until the spring of 2019.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Local Plant Grower Hosts Medical Marijuana Forum In Drums
Author: Kent Jackson
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