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Starting next week, more New Yorkers will be able to score weed without looking over their shoulders.

On Monday, the Hunts Point PharmaCannis medical marijuana dispensary opens to the public, the second such outlet in the city and the first in The Bronx – and Margaret Craighead is set to be the first customer.

“It was like a divine intervention,” the 59-year-old Bronx resident told The Post. She recently got her doctor’s approval, a state medical marijuana patient ID card, and the chance to treat her pain and nausea with legal pot.

“When I smoke,” she said, “I’m cooking, I’m laughing, I’m eating, I’m happy.”

The Post got the first walk-through of the gleaming Hunts Point dispensary, which looks more like a doctor’s office crossed with Fort Knox than a drug den.

The waiting room is bright – and features a large, flat-screen TV displaying colorful marijuana plants with info on how they’re cultivated. Before patients can even enter the dispensary, they need to show a security guard their ID and the certification that they’re allowed to buy. They then need to show their ID again before seeing the doctor.

Every room is guarded with special key-card access and there is never a moment when the patient is left alone without staff, the company says. All of the product is kept in a bank vault that no one is allowed to access to by themselves – not even the CEO of the company.

There are 21 security cameras.

It’s been a long wait for people like Craighead, a self-described “classy woman,” who turned to street weed this year while battling the painful effects of colon cancer that returned after a decade in remission. The former fashion consultant was such a fish out of water in the sleazy world of dime bags and pizza-delivery-style dope couriers that her first dealers thought she was setting them up.

“They told me ‘You better not be a cop!’” she laughed. But Craighead was desperate. She said she’s lost 65 pounds since the start of the year.

Craighead paid the $250 needed to become medically certified under New York’s Compassionate Care Act, which gives patients access to legal marijuana. But the nearest dispensary was in Manhattan’s Union Square, so having one open in the northern part of city will make life much easier for her and others in the area who get the proper clearance.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found states with legally operating medical marijuana centers had a 16 percent to 31 percent reduction in opioid mortality rates and a 28 percent to 35 percent reduction in admissions for opioid addiction treatment.

Still, legal marijuana isn’t a panacea: While opioids are covered under health insurance, medical marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law, is not, meaning it may still be cheaper to get pot the old-fashioned way.

A 250-mg vaporizer cartridge of pure cannabis oil at the Hunts Point dispensary will cost patients over $100. This is enough for about 200 “puffs” and lasts for 7-21 days, depending upon the patient’s condition and dosage. That means a month’s supply can cost more than $300, much more expensive than what’s sold on the streets. (In California, 1,000-mg cartridges can be purchased for $60.)

PharmaCannis says it recognizes the high cost and points the finger at stringent state and federal laws regarding controlled substances.

“It’s just a matter of working within the boundaries of the law right now… there are a lot of people who make it a part of their daily profession to work that issue [of cost] out,” Fred Polsinelli, a spokesman for PharmaCannis, told The Post. “Our hands are tied, there’s only so much we can do as a state based program.”

Craighead said she’s willing to do what’s necessary to get her life back: “I’m going to say it will happen for me. Just keep a prayer and a good luck, positive energy out there for Margaret.”

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Pot Dispensary Will Help Bronx Residents Legally Treat Their Pain
Author: Gabreille Fonrouge
Contact: New York Post
Photo Credit: Matthew McDermott
Website: New York Post