Keystone Shops opens medical marijuana dispensary on Feb. 16
Held open house for friends, family and media on Wednesday
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.
A cannabis-infused Devon. capsule is shown at Keystone Shops in
The new medical Devon. marijuana dispensary, Keystone Shops in