A public ribbon cutting ceremony is planned Thursday for a medical marijuana clinic in Harrison.
Compassionate Certification Centers, a national medical cannabis healthcare network, is holding the event at 9 a.m. at 2130 Freeport Road, the Anchor Island Building.
Dr. Randall Barrett, an anesthesiologist and pain management physician, will oversee the office.
“For years we were left with few treatment options for pain management other than opioids,” Barrett said. “With the opioid epidemic now facing us, medical cannabis could not have come along at a better time.”
Compassionate Certification Centers’ co-founders, Dr. Bryan Doner and CEO Melonie Kotchey, will preside over the ceremony. Harrison Commissioner Charles Dizard and Bill McElligott, for state Rep. Frank Dermody, are expected to attend.
It will be Compassionate Certification Centers’ sixth office. It will provide medical cannabis certifications and evaluations and guidance and continued treatment care for eligible patients who have been diagnosed with one of the 21 state-qualifying conditions. Those conditions include epilepsy, cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders.
“Medical cannabis offers hope to many patients who have not responded to conventional medications and therapies,” Barrett said.
About 35,000 patients are registered for the state’s medical cannabis program, with about 200,000 eligible.
Compassionate Certification Centers plans to open 25 patient centers across the state.
Other offices are planned for Irwin, North Huntington and Kittanning. A Downtown Pittsburgh office opened last year along with a clinic in Butler.
Marijuana remains classified federally as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the same category as heroin, meaning dispensaries cannot be reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. Because of the federal classification, the Pennsylvania market operates on a cash basis, without insurance.