PA ready to permit more medical marijuana

PA ready to permit more medical marijuana

More than 25,000 residents have registered for medical marijuana, and 9,020 of them have been certified by one of 473 physicians approved to participate in the program, said Hutcheson, with the Department of Health. Each dispensary can have three locations, meaning 150 could eventually be operating in the state.

"We have two processes running here: a commercial and a research side", Collins said in a conference call Thursday with reporters outlining this next phase of the program.

Beginning on April 5, the state Department of Health will begin accepting applications for 13 new grower/processor licenses and 23 new dispensary licenses.

That means that a maximum of 48 dispensaries in Pennsylvania will benefit from the medical research measure.

Medical marijuana may only be grown, harvested, stored and processed indoors in Pennsylvania.

Applications for the new grower/processor and dispensary permits are due May 17. That's because federal law outlaws marijuana in any form. Medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is available in pills, oils, tinctures and ointments.

The health systems will construct research studies focusing on medicinal applications but will not actually handle the cannabis plant or any of its products. Several dispensaries, including Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill, have run out of inventory causing unforeseen closures.

The 12 growers/processors were cleared to begin growing last fall.

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More than 25,000 patients have registered for the state program and more than 6,000 patients have purchased medical marijuana from dispensaries. But with public support for medical marijuana soaring among Americans, officials have chosen not to enforce the ban as it pertains to medical marijuana.

"The best medicine will be made the most hard to obtain by limiting the sales", Peter Murphy, regulated substances attorney at Eckert Seamans, says. "Medical marijuana has the potential to treat many medical conditions".

"Bringing more dispensaries and grower/processors allows for more options for patients", she said. The state has approved almost 500 medical practitioners to certify patients. So far, fewer than half of the 27 already permitted, are open.

A grower/processor application carries a $10,000 nonrefundable fee, and the permit costs $200,000 for one year and $10,000 to renew. Proof of $2 million in capital must also be shown which includes $500,000 on deposit with a financial institution. The nonrefundable dispensary application fee is $5,000, with the permit costing $30,000 for one year and a $5,000 renewal fee.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission recently choose five groups throughout the state to open cultivation centers.

Herb Conaway, a doctor who also chairs the Assembly health committee, said, "We are putting patients and physicians in control". The state had included a research partnership component in its initial 2016 law legalizing medical cannabis, but only on March 16 did the Department of Health release the actual legal language behind this idea (known as "Chapter 20").

"The issue is: A doctor is certifying that a patient can use medical marijuana for treating a specific condition, but that doctor ... is just sort of authorizing medical marijuana as a treatment", Murphy says. Dispensaries are also allowed to sell equipment, such as vaping devices for liquid forms, to administer medical marijuana.

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