COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (WHTM) –
Senator Mike Folmer is a conservative Republican fighting to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. He is co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1182 with Democratic Senator Daylin Leach.
Folmer recently traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado – where the medicine is legal – to see how, and if, it is working there.
The senator’s first stop was at the Realm of Caring’s greenhouse. The non-profit group provides medical cannabis to patients in Colorado at a lower cost, and is known internationally for developing a plant called Charlotte’s Web, a plant low in psychoactive THC and high in CBD.
“It has really great properties that are anti-inflammatory and it does not get you high, so CBD is really great for kids,” said John Terry, a grower for Realm Of Caring.
Realm of Caring has over 20,000 Charlotte’s Web plants, but is still not meeting the 7,000 requests they have received around the world. Since 2012, more than 180 kids have been treated with Charlotte’s Web, which is given in a oil form that can be eaten. Seventy-five percent have shown a reduction in seizures.
“This is actually helping them create new brain cells and develop. I have seen many patients when they first came here that could not walk, could not talk, could not eat, they were on a feeding tube,” Terry said. “I see them now and they are running around, they are eating on their own and they are having conversations, and they are laughing.”
Colorado requires all plants to be tagged and entered into a computer system.
“It is a new tagging system by the Colorado Medical Marijuana Enforcement. They can track where the plant is, if the plant is alive or dead,” Terry said. “If there is ever any theft issue or anything like that, we will know immediately which plants and how many were taken.”
After visiting the greenhouse, Folmer stopped by Realm of Caring’s dispensary in Colorado Springs where patients can pick up their medicine.
“We have edibles, topicals, medicine that can be vaporized, and we have actual cannabis raw flower,” said Joel Stanley, co-founder of Realm Of Caring.
The dispensaries must be licensed by the Colorado Department of Revenue. Only patients with red cards issued by the state can get inside.
What is in the medicine is also checked. Chemists test it several times.
“It is also sent to a third party analysis in Denver. There is a cannabis lab that is set up for doing potency testing. We verify our numbers with theirs,” said Bryson Rast, a Realm Of Caring chemist.
Folmer also stopped by Altitude Organic Medicine, another medical cannabis dispensary in Colorado Springs.
“They were gracious enough to talk to us and I was very impressed with all the educational info in the lobby, a very professional lobby,” Folmer said. “The people we saw coming in and out were so polite and nice. There is no reefer madness here. They are doing it right.”
As of March 2014, more than 115,000 Colorado residents are using medical marijuana. Ninety-four percent are using the medicine for severe pain.
“It is very encouraging to see Senator Folmer come out getting information to bring back,” Stanley said. “That is so important, because minds need to change. People really need education as opposed to the propaganda, fear, and stigma associated with this plant. A little education goes a long way for people to understand that this can be done and can be safe.”
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