PA's Medical Marijuana Program To Be Up And Running By Mid-2018

Dec 22, 2016

State officials say they plan to make marijuana available in Pennsylvania in mid-2018.
Credit Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

The state health department plans to start accepting applications for growers and dispensers in Pennsylvania’s newly-formed medical marijuana program on Feb. 20.

The agency says it expects to begin making the drug available in mid-2018.

In the first phase of the program’s rollout, the DOH will issue up to 12 licenses to growers, and up to 27 permits for dispensaries. Each individual dispenser will be allowed up to three locations, which could bring the total to 81 dispensaries across the state.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Karen Murphy said the program is relying heavily on feedback from doctors, who have been meeting regularly as part of a so-called “physicians’ work group.”

“They suggested that we develop specific training and dosing requirements for physicians and dispensaries, that we develop a robust, quality monitoring program, and that we have different approaches for physicians in rural and urban areas,” she said.

Murphy says around 900 applications are expected from growers and dispensers.

In addition, the program’s director, John Collins, said it's collected responses from thousands of Pennsylvanians about why they feel they’ll need the drug.

“The two that made it to the top of the list were pain and PTSD,” he said.

Murphy noted that the department has also approved 134 applications for Pennsylvania’s safe harbor program.

It was developed after medical marijuana was legalized in April, and gives children with certain conditions legal access to the drug before the law is fully enacted.