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Pennsylvania's Cannabis Supporters Have A Lot To Celebrate This 4/20

Ted S. Warren
Thirty states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, and nine of those (plus Washington, D.C.) have broad legalization where adults 21 years or older can use for any reason. Yet cannabis remains illegal under federal law and has many opponents.

Dry leaf marijuana will soon be available for a growing list of Pennsylvania patients, including those addicted to opioids. State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine approved changes to the existing policy this week, including an expansion of qualifying conditions. Medical marijuana is already legal statewide in tinctures, pills, oils and ointments. Regulations still forbid residents from smoking it.

90.5 WESA's Sarah Boden and Pittsburgh City Paper's Ryan Deto say the details are still to come.

Coming up...

One of professional wrestling's longest-reigning champions died Wednesday at the age of 82.

An Italian immigrant who grew up in Pittsburgh, Bruno Sammartino was wrestling's biggest box office draw in the 1960s and 1970s and held the World Wide Wrestling Federation championship for more than 11 years over two title runs.

Former Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Chris Togneri, who attended Sammartino's induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013, remembers one of the Steel City's most hallowed sons.

Later in the program...

A statewide grand jury is investigating a half dozen dioceses in Pennsylvania for alleged sexual abuse of children by priests and others associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Peter Smith from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette joins Ivey DeJesus from PennLive to talk about the forthcoming report, its effect on survivors and what they expect to see from one of the nation's most comprehensive investigations of its kind.

And finally...

Hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the nation have shut down in recent decades, including Pennsylvania sites owned by FirstEnergy. The Ohio-based company is appealing to the Trump administration for an emergency declaration that would charge customers more for electricity to keep them alive. But what else could buyers do with those well-positioned industrial sites?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Laura Legere and Reid Frazier of StateImpact Pennsylvania and The Allegheny Front explore possible remediation plans and why FirstEnergy's request may not fly.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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