Wolf celebrates 1st anniversary of legalizing medical marijuana

Wolf celebrates one-year anniversary...

Monday marked one year since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, and a lot of people want in on the business.

That includes a group called Pennsylvania Cannabis, which has leased out space on Main Street in Emmaus, Lehigh County, in hopes of it becoming a dispensary.

There are hundreds of applications for a limited number of dispensaries and distribution centers. Word on that is expected to come in early June. For those who need medical marijuana now, it's about celebrating the future.

"We are on schedule to do this as everyone expected, early 2018," Gov. Tom Wolf told a crowd inside the Capitol rotunda in Harrisburg.

Wolf was surrounded by advocates and families that rely on medical marijuana.

"It's one step closer to forever for my son," said Shalawn James.

James' 14-year-old son, Jerrick, suffers from sickle cell anemia. He's been allowed to use medical marijuana from other states. Jerrick said it's been a life-changing year.

"It's like a good alternative for me because no side-effects, no negative side-effects I know of, like with really bad narcotics," he said.

Medical marijuana is set to be fully implemented by 2018. In the meantime, hundreds of growers, laboratories and dispensaries are vying for a limited number of licenses.

"It's going to be enlightening. It's going to bring tranquility and natural health in a new way," said Tim Charles, the CEO of Pennsylvania Cannabis, who is hoping to open the dispensary in Emmaus.

He told 69 News on Monday that the past year has been tough, as competition is fierce. He said a competitor tried to break up his lease agreement with Emmaus, a borough, like many other municipalities, that is amending its zoning laws in preparation of medical marijuana.

For Shalawn and Jerrick, who were part of a statewide promotional video, medical cannabis can't come soon enough.

"For us, medical marijuana means we can wake up and have a normal life. People take normal for granted," she said.

Medical marijuana did pass with bipartisan support.

In March, the state's auditor general proposed allowing recreational marijuana as a way to boost revenue. Legislators who spoke with 69 News said that won't be happening anytime soon, and passing medical marijuana was a big step for Pennsylvania.

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