Medical marijuana patients in the Valley are slowly gaining more options to obtain the relief they need.

While the Valley’s newest dispensary — Verilife in Shamokin — won’t open for another two weeks, it’s opening gives Valley patients a second outlet to purchase recommended marijuana doses. It comes on the heels of the Nature’s Medicines opening in Selinsgrove last year.

They are two of 80 dispensaries open statewide according to the state Department of Health. The Valley also has three grower/producer facilities in various forms of operation and construction. 

For those on the front lines, the wait to get more dispensaries open locally has been frustrating. Before Nature’s Medicine opened a second shop in Selinsgrove — it had previously opened one in Bloomsburg — local patients had to go to Williamsport, State College or Harrisburg to obtain the medication they needed.

“These dispensaries and operations are like three yards and a cloud of dust, pretty soon, pretty soon, pretty soon, you get it over the goal line. It takes a long time to get it over the goal line,” said Jeremy Unruh, the senior vice president of public and regulatory affairs for PharmaCann, which operates Verilife.

Verilife will open Aug. 4. The dispensary will employ between 20 and 25 people.

It’s another step forward for the state’s program that continues to grow. When the state issued a two-year report of the program in May, it reported there have been more than 12.5 million products sold as part of 4.4 million medical marijuana transactions. There are now 1,349 Pennsylvania officials approved to recommend medical marijuana for any of 23 conditions.

Now patients have more options, which is always a good thing.

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