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Application process for medical marijuana organizations set to open in early 2017


New details regarding the availability of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania were released by the Wolf administration last week marking the first major step in the legalization process since the landmark legislation (Act 16) was signed into law, state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said.

“This is a great step forward and one that many Pennsylvanians and their families have been anxiously awaiting,” Sen. Costa said. “While there is still work to be done and months before medical cannabis will be available, knowing the process is moving provides much-needed hope to those waiting for relief for their loved ones.”

During a press conference in Harrisburg, Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy and Medical Marijuana Program Director John Collins said the application period for growers/processors and dispensaries will open Jan. 17, 2017. They said that this is when application materials will be made available. Applications will be accepted from Feb. 20 through March 20.

The officials said that permits will be offered in a three-phase roll-out. Up to 12 grower/processor permits will be available statewide during the first phase of the application roll-out and up to 27 dispensary permits will be issued. Organizations granted a dispensary permit may open up to three individual locations, which must be approved by the Department of Health.

According to the Department, there are six identified regions where grower/processor and dispensary permits will be granted. Allegheny County, part of Region 5 covering the Southwestern portion of Pennsylvania, will be granted up to two dispensary permits.

As specified in the Medical Marijuana Act, the Department of Health will consider certain criteria when determining where to grant permits: number of patients with serious medical conditions; types of conditions; access to public transportation; and regional population. In addition, health care needs of rural and urban areas as well as those areas with significant economic development needs will be considered.

During Phases two and three of the program, the Department will determine if additional permit applications will be issued. According to program director, the Department is still on target to make medical cannabis available to patients by mid-2018.

Mr. Costa said additional information about the temporary medical marijuana regulations issued earlier this year is available in the Pennsylvania Bulletin at


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