TIMES LEDGER: REGO PARK WOMAN IS FIRST PATIENT AT BOROUGH’S FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY

As a medical professional for more than 20 years, 52-year-old Emily Taylor of Rego Park was very much against drug use and never tried marijuana in her life. Than she began suffering from multiple neuropathies with chronic stabbing pains all over her body beginning six years ago.

“I had to try and control the pain with huge doses of opiates and other narcotics that left me useless,” said Taylor, which is not her real name because she asked that her identity be protected. “Then came the recurrent migraines that made me suicidal.”

When Vireo Health of New York opened the borough’s first medical marijuana dispensary last Friday, Taylor was the first patient through the door. After a consultation she left the facility, located at 89-55 Queens Blvd., just steps away from the Queens Center mall in Elmhurst, with a week’s supply of cannabis-based medication products in the forms of vapor and capsules instead of tinctures and oils that are also available.

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MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL: MEDICAL-MARIJUANA START-UP VIREO RAISING $31.5M TO EXPAND INTO MORE STATES

Medical-marijuana venture Vireo Health is seeking $31.5 million in equity financing as it prepares to expand into between 17 and 20 more states.

The Minneapolis-based parent company of Minnesota Medical Solutions(MinnMed) is close to reeling in $6 million of that amount, said CEO Dr. Kyle Kinglsey. Vireo is largely targeting individual investors, an approach it used to bankroll its launch in Minnesota and New York.

“Thing are going very well,” Kingsley said of the fundraising effort. “We have a national plan and we’re doing meetings in cities throughout the country. We have between 400 and 500 people in the pipeline with us.”

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NEW YORK 1 NEWS: FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY IN QUEENS OPENS

It was a quiet opening Friday for Vireo Health. There were few patients at the medical marijuana dispensary, but the executives did not act worried.

“Our experience working in other states, like in Minnesota, is that these things take time and that you need to be patient,” Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health said.

They say they are encouraged by the number of doctors who have signed up to write marijuana prescriptions, even though critics say the number is disappointing.

“Over 200 physicians have taken four hours of their time to learn about medical cannabis and to become certified by the state so that they can recommend medical cannabis to their patients,” Hoffnung said.

The Elmhurst dispensary is the second to open in the city. The local state legislator says community concerns are easing.

“Once you take a look at the way the model is created here, it will reduce that alarm exponentially,” State Assemblymen Jeffrion Aubry of Queens said. “This is a medical facility.”

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DNAINFO: QUEENS’ ONLY MEDICAL MARIJUANA SITE SEEKS TO OVERTURN ‘STIGMA’ OF USE

ELMHURST — The borough’s first medical marijuana facility opened Friday inside a bright and airy former clothing shop on Queens Boulevard — but don’t expect to find any pot cookies, flavored pot, or “trendy” pot brands.

Vireo Health, at 89-55 Queens Blvd., will be different than other pot dispensaries around the nation in a bid to shed any “stigma” associated with cannabis use, CEO Ari Hoffnung said.

“There will be no joints here, there will be no pot brownies, we have no products with names that some regard as offensive, like AK 47,” he said at the opening ceremony Friday.

“Instead we have pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis, dispensed not by ‘budtenders,’ who have little to no training, but dispensed by New York State licensed pharmacists who have years of training in pharmaceuticals and supplementary training in cannabis.”

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QUEENS COURIER: CHECK OUT QUEENS’ FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY

Queens residents hoping to find relief from chronic illness pain will now be able to purchase medical-grade marijuana in the borough’s first dispensary.

Vireo Health of New York, one of five companies in the state licensed to sell medical marijuana, opened up shop on Friday at 89-55 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst.

According to CEO Ari Hoffnung, patients who enter the dispensary will receive an experience that resembles a visit to a doctor’s office or pharmacy. Though there is still stigma related to patients who smoke marijuana for pain relief, he said, Vireo Health is trying to change that.

“The experience that patients will have here is fundamentally different than the images New Yorkers see from California and Colorado,” Huffnung said.  “There will be no joints here, there will be no pot brownies.”

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TIMES-LEDGER: MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY OPENS IN ELMHURST

The borough’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened its doors Friday near the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst.

The Queens Patient Center at 89-55 Queens Blvd. began to provide clients with cannabis-based medication products, formulated to help patients suffering from pain associated with a variety of chronic and terminal illnesses such as cancer, Lou Gherig’s disease, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

“For the first time in 100 years, marijuana is being sold legally in Queens,” Vireo Health of New York CEO Ari Hoffnung said. “This time it’s in non-smokable forms like tinctures, oils and pills dispensed by licensed pharmacists. The images you see from California and Colorado will not be seen here. No joints and no brownies.”

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WTEN-TV: FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT IN NY GETS WHAT SHE’S BEEN YEARNING FOR

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The first medical cannabis patient in New York State said her cancer and the treatments for it turned her life upside down.

Constant pain and dozens of pills a day pushed Brittany Barger to search for a different way to cope with her illness. She qualified for a medical cannabis card and went to Vireo Health, a dispensary in White Plains for alternative treatment.

“I know that the likelihood of them getting rid of my cancer isn’t going to happen, but if I can stay me for as long as possible, that’s what I want,” she said.

Barger was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 26. She received a late diagnosis, so she is currently Stage 4. She also doesn’t qualify for surgery because the cancer has spread all over her body.

Barger said she was tired of taking dozens of pills at a time that only made her feel worse. So last Thursday, she made the first legal purchase of medical cannabis in the state.

Watch the story here.

WAMC NPR: NY’S FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENT SHARES HER STORY

Now that New York has become the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana, reporters Tuesday met the woman believed to be the first patient in the state.

Brittany Barger suffers from Stage IV ovarian cancer that has metastasized. The 27-year-old who was diagnosed about a year ago says surgery is not an option and chemotherapy has not worked. She requires some 15 pills just to get out of bed in the morning. After having registered, Barger arrived through the double doors at Vireo Health of New York’s White Plains Dispensary January 7, the day the state’s Medical Marijuana Program launched. She says she is already taking fewer pain meds and had an appetite for the first time in more than a year.

Read and listen to the full story here.

THE JOURNAL NEWS: Q&A WITH ONE OF NEW YORK’S FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS

When Brittany Barger was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the then 26-year-old New Yorker mourned the death of a life she had mapped out.

Then she regrouped and focused on the life ahead of her.

Barger persevered when chemotherapy left her in constant pain and homebound. Even when going to the movies, taking walks and visiting friends became forgotten luxuries, she fought the disease.

Barger, now 27, spoke Tuesday after becoming one of New York’s first medical marijuana patients. She started buying the drug last week at Vireo Health of New York’s dispensary in downtown White Plains.

“I know that the likelihood of them getting rid of my cancer isn’t going to happen, but if I can stay me for as long as possible, that’s what I want,” she said.

Barger shared her story at the 221-223 E. Post Road dispensary, one of 20 sites opening statewide for patients to purchase non-smokeable forms of cannabis-based drugs, such as pills and oils. At least 105 patients have been certified to buy the drug and enrollment is expected to expand in coming months, state officials said Tuesday.

Read the full article here.

Watch a video from The Journal News here.

CBS NEW YORK: ONE OF NY’S FIRST MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS SPEAKS

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One of the first patients to receive medical marijuana in New York is telling her story.

Brittany Barger, 27, was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer more than a year ago and said she turned to medical marijuana as a last resort.

“My body hasn’t reacted the way I wanted it to for chemo,” Barger said. “I can’t do surgery because it’s way too dangerous, and if I can come here and get some type of relief, and I feel like this is my choice.”

Barger said she was tired of taking dozens of pills that only made her feel worse and with the help of her doctor, she obtained marijuana capsules at the Vireo Health Dispensary in White Plains last Thursday.

Watch the story here.