The first of ongoing reporting that looks at cannabis in Pennsylvania, NBC10 reporter Alicia Lozano goes behind the scenes at the World Medical Marijuana Conference & Expo in Pittsburgh.

 

Eighty miles outside Pittsburgh a billboard asked drivers which option they would prefer to treat pain: opioids or medical marijuana?  “The choice should be yours,” the sign read. 

The billboard spoke to two of the biggest issues facing Pennsylvania — addiction and the push to join a rapidly expanding green rush.

It’s no wonder, then, that the World Medical Marijuana Conference & Expo was held in Pittsburgh Friday and Saturday. Co-hosted by Greenhouse Ventures, a Philadelphia-based incubator for medical cannabis businesses, the convention brought together researchers, veterans, doctors, advocates and entrepreneurs.

Some of the usual suspects were in attendance. Aging hippies in Hawaiian shirts? Check. Misfits with neck tattoos? Check. Guys blowing glass pipes? Check.

More striking were the business suits and young children, the two state senators who greeted marijuana advocates like old friends. This is the brave new world of cannabis and its business all the way.

Pennsylvania stands to make an untold millions of dollars when medical marijuana gets off the ground next year. Extra revenue will come in the form of new jobs not just in the immediate industry, but ancillary services, as well.

Transportation, construction, banking and pharmaceuticals could all benefit if the state avoids some of the pitfalls made by New Jersey and Maryland. While a case can be made that both neighboring states are struggling because, at their core, lawmakers don’t want medical marijuana to flourish, Pennsylvania does not appear to have that problem.

Sen. Daylin Leach (D – Pa. 7th) and Sen. Mike Folmer (R – Pa. 48th) do not anticipate any hurdles. The two co-sponsored Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana legislation and both

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