Dispensary marks first year in Erie
On April 16, 2018, RISE Erie, the first local medical marijuana dispensary, held a ribbon-cutting at its office, 2108 W. Eighth St., in preparation for its opening two days later.
We asked Jill Chiccarino Beck, director of community engagement for
Q: How you size up RISE Erie's impact at the one-year mark.
A: We are thrilled to be part of the Erie community and have been volunteering with organizations like Community Shelter Services throughout the past year. Giving back to the community is very important to us and seeing our patients have success with MMJ (medical marijuana) has been amazing.
Q: How is it helping people who benefit from your products?
A: Some are having fewer seizures, others no longer need to use a cane or walker. We are seeing cancer patients who have an increased appetite and less nausea after chemo. It's different for everyone.
Q: What are the demographics of your clients?
A: We have patients who range in age from four years old to 100 (yes!) years old, from all walks of life.
Q: And is "client" the right word to use to describe customers?
A: We use the term patients, but
Q: Are there any trends in who is using your products?
A: The 21 approved medical conditions are not trendy, so I'd say no to that. But PTSD is one of the more prevalent conditions we are seeing; cancer and chronic pain as well.
Q: Are there people who are surprised to learn that medical marijuana is a solution for their medical condition?
A: Some are surprised to hear that autism is being treated in PA — with success! Others suffering from, say, endometriosis have been approved under the chronic pain diagnosis. Chronic pain encompasses a multitude of medical conditions.
Q: What lies ahead in terms of expansion — of services, of the number of certified doctors, of products?
A: We are always welcoming certifying physicians into the program, Erie County currently has about 26 doctors able to certify patients for MMJ. The Pennsylvania Department of Health is currently considering adding anxiety and Tourette's Syndrome to the list of medical conditions.
And RISE Erie is looking forward to carrying product from the Erie-based cultivator Calypso this summer.
As the Phase II licensees get up and running, we will see more cultivators and dispensaries come on board. RISE, which operates in Erie, Steelton, Carlisle
In Pennsylvania, to buy medical marijuana products for a serious medical condition you must register online, have proof of residency, pay $50 for a medical marijuana identification card and also be certified by a participating doctor.
To learn more about how to register, visit https://www.pa.gov/guides/pennsylvania-medical-marijuana-program/.