Tartaglione and Cruz partnered with the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, known as Philly NORML, for the four-hour event, which was also attended by a physician from Medically Assisted Recovery Services, along with representatives from Hemp Health Labs and Herbology, a company that operates nine licensed medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.

“I truly hope and believe that the information we shared here today will help members of the community who are struggling to cope with many different medical conditions and those who seek access to a safe, non-addictive, and legal way to relieve their symptoms,” Tartaglione said. “Opioid use disorder is a major public health crisis across Pennsylvania and especially in the 2nd Senate District. Medical marijuana offers people an alternative, whether they have cancer, glaucoma, autism, chronic pain, or any of more than 20 different diagnoses.”

“We had a packed house, which is a sign that people need more information and are looking for ways to get help with chronic medical conditions,” Cruz said.

The list of eligible conditions continues to grow. Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Department of Health added anxiety and Tourette syndrome to the list. The Commonwealth is one of just three states to allow medical marijuana prescriptions for anxiety.

Robert Rudnitsky, executive director of Philly NORML, said that public events like today’s information session help to shed light on the state’s medical marijuana program, break down the stigmas often associated with the substance, and educate people about marijuana’s medical uses.

“My goal is to remove the negative stigmas and have people know this is an alternative to the traditional pharmaceuticals,” Rudnitsky said. “It’s safe with minimal to no side effects, and for many people it’s an effective way to treat their ailments.”

Todd Eachus, managing partner for Hemp Health Labs, said that events like this provide “remarkable access for products that people really need to relieve their symptoms. The healthcare community knows so little of this because it has just emerged, but it’s not going away.”

Information about the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program is available online by visiting www.health.pa.gov. Each week in Philadelphia, Philly NORML hosts a series of state medical marijuana card registration events. For a listing, visit www.PhillyNORML.org.