A proposed medical marijuana distribution facility got mixed reviews from Trainer Borough Council and residents during a recent Council session discussion.
Dr. Howard Strauss, a retired dentist who owns and serves as director of the AIDS Care Group located in Sharon Hill, made a presentation to Council last week during it’s monthly meeting about the positives surrounding having a medical marijuana distribution center in the borough.
“Please know this is not recreational marijuana,” Strauss said. “No grass, no marijuana cigarettes. This is a medical therapeutic effort to deal with a patient who is most in need. This is not a cure, but it will help children with autism and severe seizures, young adults with hepatitis, and elderly people living with debilitating illnesses such as life defining cancers. These illnesses are among the 70 designated uses.”
Co-sponsored by state Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-162), Sen. Daylin Leach (D-17), and Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48), Gov. Tom Wolf signed the medical marijuana bill into law which allows Pennsylvania residents to acquire marijuana in pill, oil extract, nebulizer, and topical form.
The bill made Pennsylvania the 24th state to permit the use of medical marijuana.
Wolf stressed that the primary objective of the legalization is to attempt to decrease opioid abuse which, over the past 10 years, has skyrocketed in the state.
“We lost about 2,000 people last year alone to opioid overdose,” Wolf said recently. “In the states that have legalized medical marijuana, the deaths from opiods overdose has declined about 25 percent. That’s 500 lives we can save each year.”
Strauss said there will eventually be 50 dispensaries in 67 counties statewide that will be strictly enforced. He added that approximately 20,000 people will be medically eligible to use the services.
Strauss hopes to open a facility at the former location of Rick’s Bar on Ninth Street.
Police Chief Frances Priscopo said he did extensive research and feels the facility would be a “good opportunity.”
“It’s about time we recognize the benefits of this,” Priscopo said. “It is better for ill people to have something that gives them relief rather than take expensive drugs that don’t work.”
Residents discussed security in depth, expressing concern for people coming into the borough to purchase the marijuana, which is also expensive.
“I’d like to ask why Trainer?” said Marilyn Maher, “Why not Aston or another community? It just seems as though our community is always the one chosen for things like this. They wanted to put a drug rehab in Trainer and now this. “
Council Vice President Joe Maher said if people from Pennsylvania are the only ones permitted to purchased the drug, how is it profitable to have a facility so close to Delaware and New Jersey?
Strauss said he is proposing to operate facilities in Reading, Sharon Hill and Trainer.
“We cannot come here until we receive full approval from Council,” Strauss said.
Council members said the matter will be discussed further.
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