The former gossip columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News has a new beat.

Dan Gross, 37, left newspapers three years ago to stake out a career in public relations and crisis management. But as he advised a series of political clients, restaurants and clubs, the itch to report never left him.

Gross returned to the news fold on Monday to launch, the first website to focus on the region's nascent marijuana industry.

"I wanted to do something with original content that would allow me to return to reporting," Gross said. "This time I'll be doing it entirely in the cannabis space."

Since Gov. Wolf signed Pennsylvania's medical marijuana act into law, regional interest in the topic has grown. Some analysts optimistically project Pennsylvania's marijuana industry will generate thousands of jobs and up to $200 million a year when growhouses and dispensaries are up and running in 2018. (Nationwide, the industry already is valued at $5.7 billion. and could top $20 billion by 2020) A bill pending in the legislature, sponsored by State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montco), seeks to legalize recreational use in the state.

"There'll be no shortage of topics to cover," Gross said.

Gross will be the site's sole fulltime reporter, editor-in-chief and publisher, though he also has signed up several local cannabis luminaries to contribute.

Lindy Snider, a serial "ganjapreneur" who has launched several medical marijuana startups, will write a regular advice column for budding business operators and investors, Gross said. Comedian and activist N.A. Poe will provide cultural coverage. A local defense attorney will field questions from readers about potential legal quandaries. The site will also feature product reviews and tips on cooking with medical marijuana products.

Snider, he said, will also serve as a strategic advisor to the new venture.

Though his writers are based in the Philadelphia region, Gross said he's aiming to inform and entertain a national audience.

"The Philadelphia stuff will not be written from a parochial standpoint but will strive to put it in a broader context," he said. "I think anyone interested in the arena will find content on the site they want to read."

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