Pittsburgh is hosting a medical marijuana conference. Here’s what you should know.

It’s $$$ depending on what you want to see.

Marijuana Plant
Sarah Anne Hughes

As Pennsylvania continues to lay the groundwork for its medical marijuana program, Pittsburgh will host a conference on the subject Friday and Saturday.

The event is being hosted by Compassionate Certification Centers, a Delaware-based company that helps people and groups start and run medical marijuana businesses. “The conference aims to establish a more inclusive and progressive healthcare dialogue by integrating medical marijuana resources, science and education into mainstream medicine, and offers [continuing medical education] credits for healthcare providers,” according to a release.

Pennsylvania approved the use of marijuana to treat 17 serious conditions a year ago this week, and the state is currently figuring out who, where and how people will grow, dispense and obtain medical cannabis. Applications for growers and dispensaries closed in March, and the Department of Health is currently seeking input from physicians on proposed regulations. The program should be up and running in 2018.

Here’s a brief rundown of what you need to know about this week’s conference.

Where and when

The 2017 World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo begins Friday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center (1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd.). Start and end times vary Friday and Saturday by type of pass.


Costs range from $50 to nearly $700 depending on how much access you want.

For access to the Exhibit Hall, where six events are taking place each day, a single-day pass is $50 and a two-day pass is $85 for adults (student tickets are discounted). The price rises if you want to attend the workshops ($299 for one day, $549 for a two-day pass), Friday VIP reception ($399 for one-day, $599 with a two-day pass) or Saturday’s continuing medical education course ($499 without workshops, $599 with Saturday workshops, $648 with two-day pass). You can find a 25 percent discount code here.

How much you should shell out depends on why you’re going.

Events and workshops

The conference is targeted at two groups: people who want to be a part of the medical marijuana industry and those who want to benefit from it.

Events in the Exhibit Hall are primarily of general interest and include:

  • “At the Intersection of Cannabis Education, Research, & Commercialization.” Friday at 12:30 p.m.
  • Athletes for CARE,” a group of former NFL players in favor of medical cannabis use for athletes. Friday at 2 p.m.
  • Dr. Cyril Wecht, the Pittsburgh attorney and forensic pathologist who was portrayed by Albert Brooks in the film “Concussion.” Friday at 4 p.m. 
  • “Children and Cannabis,” featuring families whose children have benefited from medical cannabis. Saturday at noon.
  • “Professional Athletes and Cannabis,” featuring former NFL player and cannabis advocate (weed gyms!Ricky WilliamsSaturday at 4 p.m. 

The workshops include:

  • “How Can I Cook with Cannabis,” led by edibles producer Captain Kirk Reid and advocate Shanel Lindsay, should be of particular interest to potential patients in Pennsylvania, as the state won’t permit dispensaries to offer edibles. Dispensaries can, however, stock cannabis oil, which can be cooked with. Friday at 1 p.m.
  • State Senators Daylin Leach, a Democrat from Philadelphia, and Mike Folmer, a Republican from Lebanon, will discuss where the state is now with medical marijuana and where it’s headed. Both men co-introduced the bill that eventually became the state’s medical marijuana law. Friday at 3 p.m.
  • “First Time Cannabis Patients” will help newbies with registration, finding the right type of cannabis and talking to a physician. Saturday at 1 p.m.

See a full event schedule here.