Robert Consulmagno walked into TerraVida Holistic Center in Sellersville around 9:30 a.m. Saturday and left half an hour later feeling hopeful for the first time in a while.
“Help is on the way,” Consulmagno said, lifting his purchase – a vape pen and cartridge of 500 mg of “Keystone Kush” – to applause from dispensary staff. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
Consulmagno, a disabled Marine veteran who suffers from bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, was the first person to buy medical marijuana from TerraVida, one of two dispensaries to open in the Philadelphia area Saturday. The other, CY + Medical, is in Devon. Pennsylvania’s first dispensary opened Thursday in Butler, followed by others in Pittsburgh, Bethlehem, and Enola on Friday.
Disabled vet Robert “Cosmo” Consulmagno is the first patient at TerraVida med marijuana dispensary in Sellersville, which opened this AM. pic.twitter.com/4vsvPXQw62
— Julia Terruso (@JuliaTerruso) February 17, 2018
Outside TerraVida on Saturday morning, about a dozen people waited in line. They drove in from Plymouth Meeting, Red Hill, Doylestown, Harleysville, and Northeast Philadelphia. They shared with one another their conditions: multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, metastatic cancer. And talked about all the things they miss out on because of pain: kids’ sports games, walking the dog, going to the beach, taking a spouse out for Valentine’s Day. A cancer patient described how surgery left him with chronic pain and radiation burned off his taste buds. He dropped 25 pounds and has no appetite.
Bob Traynor, 71, shook from the strain of holding himself up on his cane. For the retired Vietnam War veteran who lives in Red Hill and has had two spinal fusions, walking and standing is intolerable. At one point, he was taking 10 opioid pills a day.