Medical marijuana dispensaries set to open in Pennsylvania

Medical marijuana dispensaries set to open in Pa. Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News on February 14, 2018. (WPVI)

Pennsylvania's first medical marijuana dispensaries are set to open this weekend.

There are two in our area, one in Devon and the other in Sellersville.

Pennsylvanians who have been advocating for the availability of medical marijuana, including both doctors and patients, say this is a dream come true.

The Devon location, Keystone Shops on Lancaster Avenue, held a preview event for reporters on Wednesday.

The Sellersville location, Terra Vida Holistic Center, hosted a grand opening party Tuesday night.

Both are state-approved medical marijuana facilities.

The use of cannabis in Pennsylvania has been approved for patients suffering from any one of 17 medical conditions.

Patients first must get a certification from a qualified doctor. They then meet with a health care provider at one of the state's dispensaries to get a 30-day supply of cannabis in the form of pills, vapor, lotion or droplets.

The chief medical officer at Keystone Shops calls this a health care milestone.

"This means there's hope," said M. Louis Van de Beek. "There's hope for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome because of the anti-inflammatory effects. There's hope for people with various neurologic conditions, because of the relief of spasticity. There's hope for the individual who, secondary to cancer chemotherapy, loses weight and is unable to tolerate food."

The legalization of medical marijuana has faced some opposition in Pennsylvania.

Some in the medical community have called for more hard scientific evidence about the benefits of medical marijuana.

Critics have also cited concerns about security and about people sharing the marijuana with others.

Experts say they will be monitoring these issues and more as the program moves forward.

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