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South Philly’s first medicinal cannabis dispensary hits East Passyunk

Herbology opened its doors to the public on Friday morning.

Last week, Herbology, the east coast subdivision of Grassroots Cannabis, an Illinois-based grower and processor with locations across the country, officially opened its doors at 1125–1127 East Passyunk Ave. Herbology is one of the first medicinal cannabis dispensaries in the city since Gov. Wolf legalized medical use of the plant in April 2016. The “vertically integrated company,” meaning its operation spans from seeds to selling, is the first medicinal marijuana dispensary in South Philadelphia. (GRACE MAIORANO/South Philly Review)

On Friday morning, a crowd of folks lined East Passyunk just south of Washington Avenue.

Whether seeking alleviations for chronic pain or epilepsy, the nearly two dozen people, many of whom call South Philly home, were seeking an alternative approach toward healing.

And for the first time, the clients were able to find such treatments in their neighborhood.

Last week, Herbology, the east coast subdivision of Grassroots Cannabis, an Illinois-based grower and processor with locations across the country, officially opened its doors at 1125–1127 East Passyunk Ave.

Herbology is one of the first medicinal cannabis dispensaries in the city since Gov. Wolf legalized medical use of the plant in April 2016. The “vertically integrated company,” meaning its operation spans from seeds to selling, is the first medicinal marijuana dispensary in South Philadelphia.

“We’re really excited to be in Pennsylvania, and really excited to be able to help serve the folks of the city of Philadelphia and South Philly in particular,” Mitch Kahn, CEO of Grassroots and Herbology, told SPR. “(South Philly) is super dense, and it’s a really diverse neighborhood, which we love, because one of the really interesting things is that this is a medicine that helps people from every age from every walk of life from a lot of different issues.”

Currently, the business is vending a plethora of marijuana-based products, including topical treatments and oils. Over the next few months, as the company determines its patient base here, the staff will design specific wellness activities geared toward the South Philly patients, such as PTSD support groups, meditation and other free holistic services.

As long as patients own a state-issued medical cannabis card, which must be medically cleared by a doctor who is registered with the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program, any cannabis client can enter the dispensary without prior registration.

Patients began arriving at the dispensary almost two hours before doors even opened.

“It is much more accessible,” said Trudy DiMattia, a cannabis client from Lower Moyamensing neighborhood. “I can get here on the bus route 47. I live on 8th Street, so it’s really very close.”

DiMattia says she’s suffered from intractable pain since 2012. After an ineffective experience on vicodin, she tried cannabis oil and noticed incomparable results.

However, after acquiring a medical cannabis card, she was forced to commute all the way to the Lehigh Valley, and then later Fishtown just to simply receive a vial of oil.

“We need (a medicinal cannabis dispensary),” DiMattia said. “If we’re going to have medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, and have to travel from South Philly to Bethlehem, which was the case when it first started, what would be the point?”

While the Herbology team has several approaches to healing, its cornerstone mission lies with not only education, but accessibility, bringing these unconventional reliefs to populations who may not otherwise be exposed.

Also, with the Italian Market, Asian grocery stores and East Passyunk’s restaurant row all neighboring the dispensary, Herbology hopes its location in a booming business hub will ultimately bring employment to South Philadelphia, as well.

“Instead of having to go down to Fishtown or what not, now it gives them an opportunity to really have this service right in their backyard,” said Mahja Sulemanjee, director for community outreach for Herbology. “We provide a service that is an accessibility for patients who are struggling. It’s active compassion and care, and that’s really, at the end of the day, what it comes down to. We’re fulfilling our promises to these patients, and they’re getting their medicine in a safe accessible way through an intelligent staff helping them through that process.”

To learn more about Herbology, visit www.herbology dispensary.com.

To learn about the registration process visit, https://www.herbologydispensary.com/how-to-qualify-in-pennsylvania/.

To register for the state’s program visit, www.pa.gov/guides/pennsylvania-medical-marijuana-program/.

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