The first medical marijuana dispensary to open its doors in Center City Philadelphia is launching with a big splash.

Beyond/Hello budtenders and pharmacists will start seeing patients on Jan. 24 at 12th and Sansom streets. But before the shelves are stocked, the dispensary will host a cannabis confab on Thursday, Jan. 17 that will be free and open to the public. Beyond/Hello is calling it their Inaugural Go Beyond Open House Conference.

Retired pro athletes, pain specialists, research scientists, and a best-selling cartoonist are on the program. There’s no cost to attend, but if you’re thinking of going you must register on the dispensary’s website. There will be no actual marijuana on the premises during the event.

A vendor fair will begin at 10 a.m. with demonstrations, gear and swag giveaways by Pennsylvania’s cannabis producers.

Panel discussions begin at 1 p.m. with a talk about how to find work in the marijuana industry. At 2 p.m., healthcare experts discuss what’s been learned in the year since the state’s medical marijuana industry launched. At 3 p.m. cannabis researchers Sara Jane Ward and Helena Yardley review the varieties of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis products and how patients might consider those substances when determining the best fit for their medical needs.

A discussion about cannabis prohibition follows at 3:45 p.m. with State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and award-winning graphic novelist Box Brown whose sweeping history on the topic, Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed In America, is scheduled to release in April.

Former Flyer enforcer Riley Cote, ex-Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans, and the Rothman Institute’s Ari Greis close out the conference at 4:30 with “Could Cannabis Be a Game Changer for Athletes and Pain Management?”

Organizers say medical cards are not required for entry, but certifications may be available onsite courtesy of Green Care Medical on a first-come, first-served basis.