Key­stone Shops opens med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary on Feb. 16

Held open house for friends, fam­ily and me­dia on Wed­nes­day

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - NEWS - By Linda Stein lstein@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @lstein­re­porter on Twit­ter

DEVON » Med­i­cal mar­i­juana has been a god­send for Erica Daniels’ 12-year-old autis­tic son.

Daniels, who grew up in Ard­more and now lives in Nar­berth, said it has helped him with stress and less­ened the fre­quency of “melt­downs.” His speech and “over­all health,” have im­proved, she said.

Daniels was on hand at the open house held Wed­nes­day for the new Key­stone Shops med­i­cal mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary at W. 420 Lan­caster Ave., a for­mer Dairy Queen. The shop opens for busi­ness on Fri­day.

Ri­ley Cote, who had skated for eight sea­sons with the Philadel­phia Fly­ers and got into 250 fights in his hockey ca­reer, also praised the use­ful­ness of med­i­cal mar­i­juana in treat­ing sports-related in­juries.

Play­ing hockey “comes with a price,” said Cote. “While I was go­ing through my early ca­reer, I dis­cov­ered cannabis was a re­ally ther­a­peu­tic tool. I kept it to my­self.”

Af­ter he re­tired, his body started break­ing down, he said.

“The main rea­son I was re­ally drawn to cannabis was for pain man­age­ment and the anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties,” he said. “The beau­ti­ful thing with cannabis is it helps with much more than that. It helps with my anx­i­ety.”

Daniels, who Hope Grows for said, “For years I founded Autism, tried every­thing and searched for treat­ment (for her son). There is no cure for autism. To­day one in 33 chil­dren has autism. And it’s a global health cri­sis.” Med­i­cal cannabis has been “the most ef­fec­tive treat­ment with min­i­mal to no side ef­fects,” Daniels said. “And it’s nat­u­ral.”

“As a mother, not be­ing able to care for your child or help your child, to see your child in pain and suf­fer­ing is the most heart-wrench­ing thing you can ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Daniels. She be­gan giv­ing her son med­i­cal mar­i­juana treat­ments un­der the state’s Safe Har­bor pro­gram.

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17 of Lower Me­rion, who spon­sored the law that en­abled med­i­cal mar­i­juana also spoke.

“It be­came a cru­sade when I met a woman named Chris­tine (Brann) whose son had in­tractable Dravet Syn­drome (a rare seizure dis­or­der),” said Leach. “Her story was so mov­ing and dif­fi­cult to lis­ten to that I promised her that day that I would get med­i­cal mar­i­juana passed so she would have the op­por­tu­nity to try that out on her son be­cause it had such amaz­ing re­sults in other places. Then I was like, OK genius, how are you go­ing to get this done. You’re in the mi­nor­ity and Penn­syl­va­nia is not known for (its) em­brace of so­cial change.”

But he per­se­vered, even­tu­ally get­ting state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-48, as a cospon­sor.

“We did some­thing that never hap­pens in Har­ris­burg,” said Leach. “We changed peo­ple’s minds.”

Leach said he’s met many pro­fes­sional, high-priced lob­by­ists but no one as good as the moth­ers who were fight­ing for ac­cess to med­i­cal mar­i­juana for their sick chil­dren.

As of this week, med­i­cal mar­i­juana will be avail­able for pa­tients at ap­proved dis­pen­saries. The Depart­ment of Health has ap­proved 10 dis­pen­saries and 10 grower/ pro­ces­sors through­out the state. Cresco Yel­trah is the first grower/pro­ces­sor to be­gin de­liv­ery.

More than 17,000 pa­tients, in­clud­ing 1,000 in the Main Line area, and 700 physi­cians have reg­is­tered to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram, and doc­tors con­tinue to take the course and reg­is­ter. Some 375 have com­pleted the train­ing and be­come cer­ti­fied as prac­ti­tion­ers, ac­cord­ing to the state.

Leach’s med­i­cal mar­i­juana leg­is­la­tion was signed into law on April 17, 2016 as Act 16. The pro­gram be­came ef­fec­tive on May 17, 2016.

Dr. Louis van de Beek, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer of the Key­stone Shops, also spoke, not­ing that 17 con­di­tions are in­cluded un­der the state law for med­i­cal mar­i­juana treat­ment, in­clud­ing MS, ALS, Crohn’s dis­ease, epilepsy and glau­coma.

The Valen­tine’s Day open house at Key­stone Shops “cel­e­brates love, com­pas­sion and care,” he said. “It’s that com­pas­sion, that care that brings us to­gether as we re­al­ize our dream, the open­ing of Key­stone Shops. What do we seek to do? In a brief word, we seek to make life bet­ter for so many peo­ple who we feel can ben­e­fit from what we do here.”

Doc­tors have taken an oath to re­lieve peo­ple’s pain. Med­i­cal mar­i­juana is an­other tool to help with that. And, with the opi­oid epi­demic rag­ing, it of­fers an al­ter­na­tive treat­ment for pain that does not lead to ad­dic­tion and over­doses, he said.

Key­stone Shops CEO Michael Badey went to school with Jack Fran­cis, who is the com­pany’s di­rec­tor of fi­nance. The two Rad­nor High School grad­u­ates, were on the swim team to­gether and even then talked about go­ing into busi­ness to­gether back in high school, said Fran­cis.

“I’m su­per ex­ited,” said Badey, whose dad, lawyer Ge­orge Badey, in­vested in the busi­ness.

The gen­eral man­ager, Ja­son Mitchell, grew up in Penn­syl­va­nia, lived in Colorado and worked in the med­i­cal mar­i­juana in­dus­try there. He has brought his ex­per­tise back to his home state.

“I feel truly blessed, com­ing back and do­ing what I love,” said Mitchell.

While no ac­tual prod­ucts were in the store for the open house Wed­nes­day, empty pack­ages were on shelves. Var­i­ous items, such as a spray tinc­ture for un­der the tongue use and bat­tery-op­er­ated va­p­ing pens with car­tridges were on dis­play.

Van de Beek ex­plained that doses will vary for in­di­vid­u­als, and it may take a while to de­ter­mine the right amount to treat a pa­tient’s con­di­tion. But he noted, that is sim­i­lar to how doc­tors al­ready treat prob­lems like high blood pres­sure. Whether there would be any ef­fect on a pa­tient’s psy­che would de­pend on how much THC is in a par­tic­u­lar mar­i­juana-based med­i­ca­tion. Those prod­ucts with higher CBD lev­els are less likely to pro­duce any mind-al­ter­ing ef­fect, he said. The mar­i­juana medicines come in oils, creams, tinc­tures, liq­uids and pills. The pack­ag­ing is opaque so no one can see the ac­tual prod­uct, said Fran­cis. Even­tu­ally, Key­stone Shops will also open at two other lo­ca­tions: 267 S. Hen­der­son Road in King of Prus­sia and 622 In­dus­trial Park Drive in Up­per Darby.

For more in­for­ma­tion go to: www.key­stoneshops. com.

PETE BANNAN – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

A cannabis-in­fused Devon. cap­sule is shown at Key­stone Shops in

PETE BANNAN – DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

The new med­i­cal Devon. mar­i­juana dis­pen­sary, Key­stone Shops in

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