Bethlehem hosts Pa.’s first medical marijuana site
The very first medical marijuana site in Pennsylvania has officially opened, and it is in Bethlehem. Keystone Canna Remedies’ new dispensary on Stefko Boulevard will soon offer an array of cannabis products to those suffering from various ailments from multiple sclerosis to PTSD.
It’s also the first of four planned KCR dispensaries in the state, which should by mid-February begin to serve some of the 12,000 Pennsylvanians already registered for the program. Forms of the medicine allowed to be dispensed in Pennsylvania and to be dispensed from Keystone Canna Remedies include oils, topical agents, pills, vaporization, tinctures and liquids.
A brief tour and ribbon cutting were held last Wednesday morning at the spacious facility, directly across the street from Just Born Candies.
Among the many guests was Pa. Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, who addressed the crowd with a hopeful tone.
“Today we are one step closer to getting medical marijuana to patients who desperately need it,” she said. “Medical marijuana is an important tool in our medical toolbox for patients with serious medical conditions to find relief from their suffering. In just a few months patients will be able to come to a dispensary and safely purchase medical marijuana that has been tested and that will be safe and effective.”
Levine said other promising uses of medical marijuana include treating patients with cancer, chronic pain, Parkinson’s Disease and even children with fevers that cannot be controlled by other treatments.
She said dispensaries will also provide counseling for prospective patients.
Levine also encouraged local physicians to register their services in the program to broaden the available treatments for their patients.
KCR Chief of Business Development Victor Guadagnino said that while the facility is a dispensary, its other function is educating patients, local residents and even doctors on the many uses of medical marijuana and how it’s helping people across the country.
“It’s about dispelling the taboo,” he said.
Guadagnino said the Pa. Department of Health has set the bar high for getting the program functional, and should serve as a model for other states.
“They’re doing it right,” he said. “When we set down this road, we had three goals in mind; becoming part of the community, providing effective medicine to patients and quantifying that patient experience. Our intention is to become part of the medical corridors here, and keep an open line of communication with the physicians, and educate the patients.”
KCR will soon begin holding public workshops with that in mind – a total of 22 of them from Jan. 21-27. Registration is available through keystonecannaremedies.com.
“Education is what we thrive on,” Guadagnino explained. “Education and consultation … it’s a team effort. We’re proud to be here.”