SELINSGROVE — When he was recently working at a Nature’s Medicines medical marijuana dispensary in Bloomsburg, Scott Franciscus met an 85-year-old woman who was picking up a prescription for cream.
“She wanted the pain cream just so she could go throughout her day without being in pain,” Franciscus recounted. “She was able to function in life again.”
Stories like those of the 85-year-old woman are plentiful at medical marijuana dispensaries. Franciscus, who lives in Milton, will serve as general manager of the Nature’s Medicines medical marijuana dispensary that will soon be opening at 1420 N. Susquehanna Trail, Selinsgrove. The business will be located to the rear of Wendy’s, in the former American Cancer Society office building.
Franciscus said Nature’s Medicines — which also operates dispensaries in State College and Bloomsburg — is leasing the space.
“We dispense medical marijuana,” Franciscus said, while describing the business. “The only person that can be inside (the business) is a certified caregiver or patient.”
While the business will be similar to a pharmacy, Franciscus said there are differences.
“It’s not a place like CVS where you can pick up your wife’s prescription,” he said, while stressing that only patients and certified caregivers can pick up prescriptions.
Franciscus is planning a soft opening of the Selinsgrove business on Sept. 11, with a grand opening to be held later in the month.
Daniel McNulty, regional manager for Nature’s Medicines, said medical marijuana dispensaries must go through an in-depth application process with the state before gaining approval to open.
He said much of the process focuses on how the dispensaries will be secured.
“We are under the Department of Health, just like any other pharmacy,” he explained.
Patients must receive prescriptions from certified physicians.
“There are 23 different qualifying conditions, from autism to terminal illness,” McNulty said, while explaining who may be eligible to receive a medical marijuana prescription.
He noted that it’s illegal to smoke medical marijuana.
“You can vaporize and nebulize it,” he said.
Medical marijuana is also available in the form of pills and creams.
“It’s great for pain,” he said, of the cream.
McNulty also highlighted some of the other conditions which can be managed through the use of medical marijuana.
“We’ve seen people with Parkinson’s, who have tremors, be able to function in society again,” he said.
Sarah Shepard, assistant manager of the Selinsgrove branch of Nature’s Medicines, said while working at another location she met a lady who was suffering from migraine headaches daily. The headaches went away when she started using medical marijuana.
McNulty has also seen the medication be used by individuals with a terminal illness.
“You’ll have someone with stage four cancer,” he explained. “They’ll say ‘I have two weeks to live. I can’t function. I just want to enjoy a last smile with my family.’”
The three employees stressed that security is very tight at all of Nature’s Medicine dispensaries.
“It’s not like it’s a hangout for stoners,” Franciscus said. “These (patients) are people looking for relief from their symptoms. It helps them function.”
He said individuals cannot come to the location seeking information on medical marijuana as that must be obtained from physicians.
Franciscus said employees will be active in the community as they work to educate the public about medical marijuana.
“We’ve talked to local law enforcement,” Franciscus said. “We will be talking to local care providers in the area.”
For more information on the Nature’s Medicines Selinsgrove location, email Franciscus at .
Staff writer Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.