Cory Booker Introduces Bill to Legalize Weed

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana nationwide.

Booker detailed the bill in a 35-minute Facebook live post Tuesday. The senator said the legislation is aimed at addressing the “War on Drugs,” which he said disproportionately affects low-income communities and people of color.  Read more »

Pepper Hamilton to Officially Form Marijuana Legal Services Arm

L to R: Pepper Hamilton partners Jay Dubow, Alva Mather, and Michael Jones. Courtesy photo.

The unveiling of Pennsylvania’s first medical marijuana dispensaries last month has put urgency not just behind cannabis entrepreneurs, but also behind some of the region’s leading institutions that see an opportunity to officially throw their hat into the ring.

One such institution is Center City-based Pepper Hamilton. The law firm announced this week that it’s officially forming an organized cannabis industry group based on its years of work in the legal marijuana space.

“It’s a situation where a number of us have been doing this work from a variety of different angles as the industry has been growing,” Health Sciences Department partner Alva Mather told me. “It’s time to make that public, and more importantly, it’s time to take a position as a firm to let the public know the expertise we are providing.” Read more »

Here Are Pa.’s First Permitted Medical Marijuana Growers

medical marijuana growers

FatCamera/istockphoto.com

The Department of Health announced the recipients of the state’s first 12 permits for medical marijuana growers this afternoon.

Two permits were awarded in each of the state’s 12 regions. In the Southeastern region, recipients are Franklin Labs LLC and Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania. Both organizations will operate out of Berks County.

Franklin Labs, which has proposed a facility in Reading, owns one of the largest medical cannabis operations in Colorado and is affiliated with Garden State Dispensary, a major medical marijuana producer in New Jersey.

Among Franklin Labs’ executives is John Hanger, who served as Gov. Tom Wolf‘s former secretary of Policy and Planning, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The organization’s chief security officer, Paul Higdon, worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency and INTERPOL, the world’s largest police organization.

Little information was immediately available on the other permit recipient, Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania – except that the organization is looking to operate out of an industrial park in Sinking Spring and reportedly has branches in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The Pa. Office of Medical Marijuana received 177 applications for growers/processors, which were reviewed by an evaluation team comprised of members from various commonwealth agencies.

The state will have to inspect and deem the various facilities as operational before permittees will be able to grow and process medical marijuana. John Collins, director of the Pa. Office of Medical Marijuana, said the department is on track to fulfill the Wolf Administration’s promise to deliver medical marijuana to patients in 2018.

The state will also issue 27 dispensary permits; those will be announced next week. Additional grower permits will be issued in the future, which will bring the total to 25.

State law allows patients with one or more of 17 qualified medical conditions (including epilepsy, cancer, seizure disorders or multiple sclerosis) to apply for a medical marijuana card.

Here is the full list of permitted medical marijuana growers announced today:

Southeast Region
Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, LLC
Franklin Labs, LLC

Northeast Region
Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC
Standard Farms, LLC

Southcentral Region
Ilera Healthcare, LLC
AES Compassionate Care, LLC

Northcentral Region
Terrapin Investment Fund 1, LLC
GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Southwest Region
AGRiMED Industries of PA, LLC
PurePenn, LLC

Northwest Region
Holistic Farms, LLC
Cresco Yeltrah, LLC

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

LISTEN: Chief Philadelphia Public Defender Slams Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests

Keir Bradford-Grey

The latest episode of Pushback, the podcast co-produced by Philly Mag and WURD, is now available. Listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or check it out below.

When progressive billionaire George Soros tried to lure Keir Bradford-Grey into running for district attorney in Philadelphia earlier this year, she passed up the opportunity. Bradford-Grey had unfinished business in her current role: The chief defender at the Philadelphia Defenders Association is also a self-described activist who, in her own words, is hell-bent on reducing racial bias in the criminal-justice system.

“I am never going to be OK with people being oppressed by this system and being marginalized. That will never sit well with me. … It’s not in my DNA,” says Bradford-Grey on the most recent episode of Pushback, a social-justice podcast available on iTunes that’s produced by Philadelphia magazine and WURD Radio. Pushback profiles those in Philly — and beyond — who push back on oppression, injustice, and inequity. Read more »

Senate Bill Would Make Weed Legal in New Jersey

iStockphoto.com | cheche22

A Democratic senator has introduced a bill that would make recreational marijuana use legal in New Jersey.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari is behind a bill that, if passed, would allow weed to be grown, sold and taxed in the Garden State. The senator – who’s attempted to pass a similar bill before – wants New Jersey to join the eleven states that have legalized recreational use of the drug.

The bill stands virtually no chance of making it past Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who has called supporters of marijuana legalization “crazy liberals” who wants to “poison our kids,” according to PoliticoRead more »

Poll: More Than Half of Pa. Voters Want to Legalize Weed

Image via Pixabay.

More than half of Pennsylvania voters – 56 percent – want to legalize marijuana, according to a new survey from Franklin & Marshall College.

According to the poll, support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high in Pennsylvania. In 2006, when F&M first surveyed Pa. voters on the topic, just 22 percent of participants supported legalization.

Here’s how support breaks down along party lines, per the poll: 75 percent of independent voters are in favor of legalization, 65 percent percent of Democrats are in favor, and 44 percent of Republicans support legalization. Across the board, support has grown drastically since 2015, when the poll found that about 40 percent of Pennsylvania voters supported legalization.  Read more »

NA Poe Pot Party Building Is a “Death Trap,” Says City

4562 Worth Street has been shuttered by the city. (Photo by Sophia Pizzi)

4562 Worth Street has been shuttered by the city. (Photo by Sophia Pizzi)

Gideon Rettich is a master woodworker in Philadelphia, but he’s not going to be able to get into his studio for a while. You see, Rettich has the misfortune of operating his woodworking company out of 4562 Worth Street, the building where police raided NA Poe’s pot party on Saturday night. Read more »

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