Medical Marijuana Dispensary Comes to State College

Cheech & Chong.  Funyuns.  A new Netflix series called, “Disjointed”.

Stigmas and prejudice cloud the medical marijuana industry with exaggerated, stoned caricatures, late night munchie runs for Spam and Cheese Ramen (it’s a real thing, https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/qkqjnw/the-ultimate-munchies-menu-of-stoner-snacks) and hip hop artists writing odes to “smoking broccoli”.

The reality is a 10 year old girl named Antania* suffering with debilitating grand mall seizures, diagnosed with a rare epileptic disorder – Dravet syndrome.  After trying 20 FDA approved medicines with no positive response, it came down to medical cannabis oil that would allow this little girl to live like a normal little girl.

There are thousands of heartbreaking yet hopeful stories similar to Antania’s.  The optimism lies in the medicinal qualities of cannabis.

Medical Marijuana in the Commonwealth…and State College

The Pennsylvania Department of Health signed the state’s Medical Marijuana Program into law on April 17, 2016.  According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website, the implementation of this program is expected to be operational within 18 to 24 months of the program’s launch.

On June 29, 2017, 27 dispensary permits were awarded throughout the commonwealth.  One of  these aforementioned permits will take effect locally in State College, PA.

PA Health & Wellness, LLC, our local dispensary agglomerate, are a group seasoned in the medical marijuana industry.  Much like any medical or dental office, the dispensary will have the accouterments of a doctor’s facility, with the exception of added security measures.

Pennsylvania residents will be able to participate in the Medical Marijuana Program only by diagnosis of one of the following 17 “serious medical conditions”,

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Intractable Seizures
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathies
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
  • Sickle Cell Anemia

Once a physician has certified the diagnosis, the patient will apply for a medical marijuana ID card and obtain medical marijuana from an approved dispensary location.

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Details on How to Participate in the State’s Medical Marijuana Program are Outlined on their Website, health.pa.gov

Medical marijuana will be in the form of pill and oil to start in Pennsylvania and the availability to patients will be in 2018. 

Advocacy in Centre County

As PA Health & Wellness, LLC commence a remodel and noticeable repainting of their proposed joint on 2105 North Atherton Street, local “Cannavangelist” Sher Simcisko has been actively advocating for the medicinal use of marijuana in Pennsylvania.  I’ve been in favor of legalization for a long time, gone to rallies and such but started advocating intensively early in 2015”.  Sher is affiliated with PA Safe Access which Sher states, “…grew out of a need to fight for PA patients and to provide them with the information they will need to navigate the law and the process of becoming a PA medical marijuana patient”.

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PA Safe Access, “…grew out of a need to fight for PA patients and to provide them with the information they will need to navigate the law and the process of becoming a PA medical marijuana patient” shares Simcisko

Misconceptions about Medical Mary Jane

Misinterpretations come twofold with the medicinal use of marijuana.  “A big misconception is that it’s only helpful for a few specific problems”, says Simcisko, “One of the conditions we weren’t able to get included (in the serious medical condition list deemed by the PA Department of Health) was addiction and mental health issues…that could have helped so many people”.  Simcisko goes on to say that continued use of medical marijuana has been correlated to prevent certain diseases and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and cancers.

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Cannabis is Therapeutic to A Myriad of Conditions, “One of the conditions we weren’t able to get included was addiction and mental health issues…that could have helped so many people” Stated Simcisko

The other obvious debasement is the believe that marijuana is a “gateway” drug affiliated with lung cancer, DUI deaths and violent crime, to which Simcisko retorts, “In fact, DUI deaths and violent crimes have decreased, most likely due to the fact that the use of alcohol decreased”.

For Sher, it’s about keeping the community apprised of the miraculous stories and statistical connection of healing for multitudes of people, “The best thing people can do is be informed”.

Indeed, researching the curative characteristics of cannabis have been a challenge for the FDA with red tape and the legal restrictions of the drug.  The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine published a report considering current cases, weighing both the therapeutic effect and harmful reactions alike**.

Regardless of where you stand on the thought of curative cannabis, the drug will be regulated and dispensed in accordance with the Pennsylvania Department of Health in State College.  A plume of preconceptions, legalities and the definition of a pharmaceutical surround medical marijuana…however, the healing is evident.  State College is a place of innovation, research and new ideas – it would seem a perfect location for a holistic approach to medicine. 

**https://nccih.nih.gov/health/marijuana

Stories of Healing

*https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/jessica-hawkins-breaks-the-law-every-time-she-gives-her-child-her-medical-cannabis-in-pa-and-she-has-no-intention-of-stopping/Content?oid=1838438&storyPage=2

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/trending/Local-veteran-Mike-Whiter-spotlights-overmedicated-soldiers-advocates-for-medical-marijuana-with-OperationOverMed.html

http://abc27.com/2016/02/16/update-cancer-patient-illegally-healing-with-medical-marijuana-identifies-himself/

PA Safe Access / Local Information and Advocacy

http://pasafeaccess.com/temp-time-enthusiasm-money-people/

Pennsylvania Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program

http://www.health.pa.gov/My%20Health/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/M-P/MedicalMarijuana/Pages/FAQ.aspx#general

Do you live in a state where medical marijuana isn’t legalized?  Do you suffer from one of the 17 serious conditions as specified by the PA Department of Health?  Please contact me about relocating to beautiful Centre County Pennsylvania, our wonderful hospital and medical facilities and advocacy programs.

“Dear Seller, I Want Your Home”: How to Write a Winning Letter With Your Offer

“Dear Seller,

We love your home. Please pick us. We will take great care of the home into the future. Please.

Sincerely,

Desperate Buyers”

Don’t write this letter!

I know who you are. You’ve looked at countless homes. Perhaps you’ve even submitted an offer, in your search, and lost to a more enticing bid.

Regardless, Desperately Weary Buyer, the perfect 3 bedroom HGTV worthy Cape Cod has just hit the market in Bellefonte in a ruthless, Centre County seller’s market.  Along with this hot new property that just came through on your Zillow email alerts are other buyers, who are just as avid on hanging a tire swing in the front yard of their new home as you are.

How will you stand out?

Elaborating on a blog I wrote for our group page, ‘How to be Competitive in a Multiple Offer Situation’ (http://www.annetteyorks.com/be-more-competitive-in-a-multiple-offer-situation), Here are a few guidelines for formulating a letter to the seller, that could be the determining factor in selecting a winning bid when an owner can’t decipher among a bevy of buyers for their home.

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Guidelines

Introduce Yourself – Get straight to the point, state your name(s) and tell the seller who you are. Remember, there may be other buyers or rumors of other offers coming in, so no time to waste.

“Dear Seller,
My name is Sarah Boha…”

Tell Your Story – The point is to ‘pull their heartstrings’ so tell them what you do for a living and perhaps give an anecdote that will make them remember you. Also, state if this is your first time buying a home, if you’re downsizing or are new to the area.

“…and I’m a first time home buyer. I’m a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in State College with a very erratic and busy schedule. Most days I work from 6am to 10pm, weekends and whenever it is most convenient for my clients. I’ve seen thousands of homes in my professional career and when it came to selecting a home for myself, it was no easy task…”

What Brought You to the Seller’s Home? – Tell the seller about your home search. Has it been tedious? Time for catharsis. Let them know how found yourself making an offer on their home and why the home is the perfect choice for you.

“…With access to so many homes, it’s been easy to become intrigued with a variety of properties, however, nothing truly resonated as ‘home’ for me. When touring your property on 59 Horatio Street, I knew, from the open concept to the smartly appointed interior design, I had to make an offer. I knew I had finally found home…”

Tie it All Together – Circle back to something personal that ties in with why you’re buying a home. This can be a lead-in if you’re asking for seller assist in your offer.

“…As a single professional and, perhaps, a workaholic; I’ve made a lot of personal sacrifice, in order to meet my career goals. I’ve helped hundreds of families achieve their dream of owning a home…it is time for me to achieve my dream as well…”

If You’re Asking for Seller Assist or Contingencies – Time to plead your case. Seller assist is a great opportunity for buyers, however, it can make you less competitive if there are other offers in play. This is your time to tell the seller why you need help.

“…In order to achieve my dream of home ownership and as a single professional with one income, I will need some assistance…”

Closing – Seal the deal, thank the seller for their time and consideration of your offer.

“…Thank you for taking the time to consider my offer. I hope to call 59 Horatio Street my new home address soon!”

Tips

Consider the Perspective of the Author – If a letter is written from the perspective of the realtor, the realtor can serve as an advocate for the buyer, painting a picture and telling a story of the customers they’ve been serving. A letter directly from your Realtor can also add another level of credibility — this is a third party vouching on your behalf.

For my clients, I try to get to know them in the time that I show them homes and write a letter about them (unless they write one themselves…and even then I check their grammar). If you aren’t lucky enough to have a realtor who earned their Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from a nationally accredited university (shameless plug), they can easily follow the aforementioned guidelines for writing a letter.

Here is an example of a letter I wrote for a couple on a home in Bellefonte. The letter inspired the seller to accept their offer and moved him to build custom cabinetry as a wedding gift to my buyers. (Names and address changed for the example)

“Claire Underwood and her fiancé Frank are first time home buyers.  Claire is a full time school teacher and she is beyond excited to purchase her first home with her soon to be husband.  I’ve toured many homes with the couple and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is by far the winner in their long search.  When they took their first step through the threshold, they knew this was the home they had been searching for; they knew they had to make an offer.  Claire and Frank can see the love and talent that the seller has contributed to the house and are blown away by his carpentry skills.  They would love to have the opportunity to cherish his work and raise their future family within the beautiful craftsmanship of this home.  
Being a full time school teacher, Claire and Frank are just starting out and they do need some assistance to make their dream of purchasing their first home come true.   Claire and Frank want to make this work and are looking forward to your response.”

Keep it Short and Concise – I’m a fan of not being weighed down in the minutia. Give the seller a clear snapshot of who you are with clear anecdotes. It will help them reference who you are easily. For example, in a recent multiple offer situation, the listing agent reached out to me and asked, “Your offer is the family with four children who’ve been looking for a year and desperately need a home, right?”. The family, in this example, is closing on their home next week.

Don’t Oversell – Especially if you’re asking for seller assist or a lower price. Perhaps you have a great job at Penn State University, try to offset that by making yourself more personal.

Be Personal and Include the Seller – When depicting a hardship, i.e. death of a loved one, winning a fight with cancer, etc. always circle it back and tie it into why you’re purchasing the home and how the seller is included in your journey. Here is a real example of a client who is now enjoying their home (Name changed for the example),

“…She overcame her cancer and, inspired by her courageous fight, decided to earn her degree to become a nurse.  After school, Anastasia moved to State College, PA and has achieved her dream of becoming a nurse.  
She now wants to achieve her dream of owning a home…”

When a Letter Doesn’t Work

A letter is no guarantee that you’ll win the sweet, little Cape Cod in Bellefonte…but it certainly ups your chances. Here are a few factors and situations that are out of your control.

1. Cash Offers
2. Bank Owned Properties (Banks don’t have heartstrings)
3. When the Seller Knows the Buyer Personally or is a Relative of the Seller
4. Personal Prejudices

There have been many instances in my career where a letter set my clients apart in the eyes of a seller. The guidelines and tips listed above have proven successful for almost all of my clients. Again, it’s not a guarantee that it will make or break the deal, but it doesn’t hurt to try tugging on the emotional side of the person that holds the key to your ideal home.

Downtown Renaissance – The Innovation District Movement Hits Penn State

Gleaming, glass edifice of student high-rise hubs reflect cranes and excavation these days along College Avenue. The ‘Innovation District’ trend is manifesting in revitalized areas of Downtown State College. These highly efficient districts are defined as consolidated cores, encompassing office, retail and residential spaces. Social networking and community collaboration drive business ideas and the economy forward in this new urban model. Penn State University, the perfect anchor for such real estate developments, is creating a buzz within the commercial real estate market in State College.

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The Metropolitan – On the corner of College and Atherton Streets

Calls to my office range from business owners seeking relocation within the shadows of the wrecking ball to retailers wanting a space within these industrious districts.

Among the renaissance of Downtown State College, The Metropolitan, managed by MSC Retail, will be the first of three (and possibly more) student high-rise projects to entertain this contemporary model for living, working and studying. Come August, The Met will open it’s doors with 501 “luxury student living beds”, fully furnished and 10,000 square feet in retail space (with current plans for burger and Japanese food concepts), a 9,000 sf clubhouse, resort style pool, extensive fitness facilities and more.

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Rise at State College, being constructed on the other side of College Ave. from The Metropolitan, will also encompass retail space and convenient urban amenities. It is rumored that a pub/eatery restaurant chain, serving a selection of craft style beers and Irish/American comfort cuisine may have an interest in such retail space.  Urban Market is a secured tenant in Rise marked down for 16,500 sf.  At 12 stories, 575 student and professional residences with a 24 hour fitness center, yoga room and more; Rise is hyped to live up to it’s name.

The Residences, proposed in the footprint of Zola’s, California Tortilla and West College Realty, has been proposed, but nothing more has been disclosed.  When I called CDG Propreties to inquire about retail space, a representative told me to follow up in a few months.

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Rise at State College on the corner of College Ave.

The juxtaposition of older buildings and the millennial’s need to feel interconnected in the new way of urban planning will create an interesting dynamic in Downtown State College and the Penn State student and young professional lifestyle.  If you’re among the mindset of maintaining a small town feel, you may not need to fret.  Zoning within the core of the State College Borough has implemented height restrictions and areas that do not qualify for future development (currently).  These zoning conditions are lauded by some, but it’s creating a challenge for investors and developers to get their foot in the door to cash in on the innovation trend.  Among an ever-changing skyline, certain constructs will forever hold true; Penn State pride…and a booming industry.