The first-ever medical cannabis dispensary in the state of Pennsylvania is now officially open and licensed to sell the medicine to patients that have the proper cards. Keystone Canna Remedies, located in Bethlehem, PA, recently held its grand opening.
The dispensary’s grand opening was put together by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. A packed house of patients, medical professionals and area business leaders witnessed the ribbon cutting ceremony, indicating the obvious lucrative opportunities that legal medicinal cannabis can bring to the Keystone State.
“Welcome to the 21st Century,” Tony Iannelli, CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, said to a packed house at the Keystone Canna Remedies’ grand opening.
Pennsylvania is one of the latest states to roll out a medical marijuana program, with democratic governor Tom Wolf signing the bipartisan law in April of 2016. Close to two years later, the program is finally beginning to take effect – of course, forcing patients to wait for their legal right to medicine in the long process. Keystone Canna Remedies won’t start selling cannabis medicine until February this year, but they are holding consultations and educational workshops in the meantime.
When the dispensary starts selling products to patients in February, they will not be able to sell edibles or flowers. Instead, the restrictive medical cannabis program currently only permits the legal sale and use of products such as vaporizers, oil cartridges, tinctures and lotions.
Dispensary founder Victor Guadagnino, Jr. will run the business with his father, Dr. Victor Guadagnino and his aunt, Joan Guadagnino. Even though Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent actions threaten legal cannabis operations nationwide, the Guadagninos believe that the state will protect their rights against any federal actions that may be taken.
“We believe that the state will protect us,” he said. “I’m not worried because we’re focused on getting the patients access. When people can see the benefits cannabis can have, I think there is going to be a lot of change at the national level,” Guadagnino Jr. told NBC Philadelphia.
Governor Wolf claims he will “do everything in his power to protect Pennsylvania patients” from facing penalties at the federal level. As of the time of this writing, over 10,000 patients have applied for a medical marijuana card, and about 1,200 have been approved so far.
Even though the medical program in Pennsylvania is currently restrictive in comparison to other medical states – and took almost two years to implement – at least it’s a small step in the right direction.