An activist for the legal marijuana industry died Friday after a heart attack while attending a marijuana gathering in Pennsylvania, according to a statement from the state’s health department.
In a statement released Friday, Pennsylvania Health Commissioner Lisa A. Pappas said that Dr. James S. Oster, 59, of West Chester died at St. Barnabas Medical Center in West Chester.
Oster, a cannabis advocate and president of the Greater Philadelphia Medical Marijuana Coalition, was attending a meeting in the state capital on Thursday when he began having chest pains and fell into a coma, the statement said.
Oester’s death was ruled a cardiac arrest and he was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital in Philadelphia for treatment.
Pappas called Oster’s death “a tragedy,” and the state is investigating.
“Dr. Osters heart attack was a tragic loss of life.
He was a respected and beloved leader of the cannabis movement, and a longtime ally in the fight for fairness and justice for cannabis patients and families,” she said in a statement.
“We will never forget his tireless efforts to educate the public on the harms of marijuana.”
The cause of death was under investigation.
Oter was a member of the Colorado chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the state chapter of The Marijuana Policy Project, and the American Medical Association.
In 2014, Oster co-founded a local advocacy group called the Weed Garden of Sinners to promote the legalization of marijuana.
Ooster was also a board member of a local marijuana dispensary called Weed Garden, which sells marijuana to those who cannot afford it.