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Medical pot advocates converge at Pittsburgh conference

Ben Schmitt
| Friday, April 21, 2017, 11:42 a.m.
Kimberly Wilson, of Suffolk, VA, and representative for All About Solutions, is framed by a large fake Marijuana plant at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017. Wilson was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2014 that triggered an autoimmune disease that left her wheelchair bound. After CBH tincture, Wilson was able to walk again.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Kimberly Wilson, of Suffolk, VA, and representative for All About Solutions, is framed by a large fake Marijuana plant at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017. Wilson was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2014 that triggered an autoimmune disease that left her wheelchair bound. After CBH tincture, Wilson was able to walk again.
Dyllon Koach, 25, of Cranberry and representative of Glass Gone Wild,  heats up glass while making a silver fumed pendant at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Dyllon Koach, 25, of Cranberry and representative of Glass Gone Wild, heats up glass while making a silver fumed pendant at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Exhibitioners put the finishing touches on their exhibition booths at the David A. Lawrence Convention Center, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in preparation for the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo which opens Friday
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Exhibitioners put the finishing touches on their exhibition booths at the David A. Lawrence Convention Center, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in preparation for the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo which opens Friday
Olivia Rivera, 23, of downtown, samples a cannabis infused soda made by Detroit-based Cannabinoid Creations at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Olivia Rivera, 23, of downtown, samples a cannabis infused soda made by Detroit-based Cannabinoid Creations at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Chris 'Critter' Charlier, of Cranberry and representative of Glass Gone Wild, arranges merchandise at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Chris 'Critter' Charlier, of Cranberry and representative of Glass Gone Wild, arranges merchandise at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Exhibitors prepare to open the two-day World Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Friday, April 21, 2017.
Ben Schmitt | Tribune-Review
Exhibitors prepare to open the two-day World Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Friday, April 21, 2017.
Exhibitors prepare to open the two-day World Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Friday, April 21, 2017.
Ben Schmitt | Tribune-Review
Exhibitors prepare to open the two-day World Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Friday, April 21, 2017.
Doug Funnie, of Mt. Washington, and artist at Anonymous Glassworks works on a pipe at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Doug Funnie, of Mt. Washington, and artist at Anonymous Glassworks works on a pipe at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Various pipes from Glass Gone Wild set out on display at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Various pipes from Glass Gone Wild set out on display at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Shane Murphy of Allentown and representative for The Kind Pen explains how his companies Vaporizer Pen works at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Shane Murphy of Allentown and representative for The Kind Pen explains how his companies Vaporizer Pen works at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Various pipes from Glass Gone Wild set out on display at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Various pipes from Glass Gone Wild set out on display at the World Medical Cannabis Conference & Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, downtown, Friday, April 21, 2017.

Thousands of medical marijuana advocates, among them former NFL players, kicked off Pittsburgh's first-ever medical pot conference Friday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Ticket sales for the two-day conference exceeded expectations, said Melanie Kotchey, chief operating officer of conference host Compassionate Certification Centers.

“Our goal is to unite physicians, patients and investors,” Kotchey said.

Kevin Provost, CEO of co-host Greenhouse Ventures, walked the floor Friday morning in a suit and tie. His company, which is based in Philadelphia, helps spur the growth of startups serving the evolving industry.

“Outsiders may view the cannabis industry as an amateur, even underground industry and that's not true at all,” he said. “You're going to see investors, physicians, lawyers, accountants, athletes and insurance people who are now trying to leverage their skill sets in this industry.

“It's exciting to see Pennsylvania positioning itself in the medical marijuana sphere.”

Gov. Tom Wolf signed a medical marijuana bill into law a year ago.

The state health department is regulating the program, which forbids smoking marijuana in dry leaf form. Medical marijuana in Pennsylvania will be available in pills, oils, tinctures or ointments.

Former NFL running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, a longtime marijuana advocate, will serve as keynote speaker.

“My personal goal is to elevate the legitimacy of cannabis as a medicine and the respect of medical professionals for cannabis users,” Williams told the Tribune-Review in January. “As a former top athlete, no one disputes that I endured injuries and serious physical pain. Medical professionals are well aware of the treatment regimen utilized by the NFL — namely opioids.”

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