The Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued another 23 cannabis dispensary permits, which will bring the number of dispensaries in the state up to at least 79.
Pennsylvania’s program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in April 2016, and it was the 24th U.S state to legalise medical cannabis. Uptake by residents has been swift, with more than 98,000 patients registered from a population of around 12.81 million, 66,000 of whom now have medical marijuana cards. It wasn’t until February this year that dispensaries began operating in the state.
Each of the new dispensary permit holders will be eligible to open up to a total of three locations. They now have six months to become operational before dispensing medicines.
“Medical marijuana is an essential form of treatment for Pennsylvanians suffering from one of 21 serious medical conditions,” stated Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. “This step continues the growth of our scientific, medically-based medical marijuana program.”
Currently, medical conditions qualifying for the program include epilepsy, glaucoma, opioid use disorder and severe chronic or intractable pain. Various forms of medical cannabis are legal in the state – pills, oils, topicals, tinctures, vaporization and nebulization. Dry leaf can only be administered via vaporization (i.e. “vaping”).
Earlier this month, the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board unanimously approved a process by which other medical conditions can be added, changed or reduced. The process isn’t confined to contributions from physicians – the general public can also petition to have conditions added/changed.
To date, around 1,380 physicians in the state have registered for the medical marijuana program, 945 of whom have been approved as certifying practitioners.
The issuing of the new dispensary permits is part of Phase II of the state’s program. Another part of this phase was the issuing of another 13 permits for growing/processing medicinal cannabis, which occurred in late July. In total 25 grower/processor permits have been issued in the state, 12 of which are operational.
Further information on the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program can be viewed here.
Pennsylvania has also been making headway on industrial hemp. In late November we reported sixty industrial hemp research projects will be selected for next year’s 2019 growing season.