Pa. Medical Marijuana Program Rollout Inches Closer to Reality

| April 27, 2017

medical-marijuanaHarrisburg, PA – Wednesday, at her regular briefing of the status of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy provided an update on the application intake process for growers/processors and dispensaries and discussed steps moving forward for practitioner and patient regulations.

‘This has been a tremendous undertaking by a team working day and night to ensure that we have a safe and effective way to get medication to patients,’ Secretary Murphy said. ‘As we continue to review permit applications and work on our temporary regulations based on feedback from the community, we move closer and closer to getting this desperately needed medicine into the hands of those who will benefit most from it.’

More than 500 packages were received, containing one or more grower/dispenser applications in each package. Despite the large volume, the Department of Health has developed an intake process to carefully track and log each application and to ensure adequate staffing to meet the demand. The department anticipates it will issue permits at the end of June, consistent with its original 90-day review timeline.

Of the packages received, the department has logged 258 applications to date. In keeping with the principle of transparency held as a top priority since the beginning of the program, the names and regions of the companies with logged applications will be put on the Department of Health website here ​ and will be updated when the logging is complete.

Secretary Murphy also discussed the feedback from practitioners regarding temporary regulations recently published on the website; the selection of MJ Freeway for seed-to-sale tracking and security; and the most recent number of approved Safe Harbor letters, which currently stands at 231.

The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has:

  • Completed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines and Safe Harbor Letter application process, as well as approved 231 applications;
  • Completed temporary regulations for growers/processors, dispensaries and laboratories which have been published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;
  • Released Phase One permit applications for grower/processors and dispensaries;
  • Developed the Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup; and
  • Drafted temporary regulations for practitioners to participate in the program; and
  • Selected the woman-owned company MJ Freeway to implement seed-to-sale tracking and security.

The Medical Marijuana Program became effective on May 17, 2016, and is expected to be fully implemented in early 2018. The program will offer medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by Act 16.

Questions about the Medical Marijuana Program can be emailed to RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov. Information is also available on the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov or by following us on Facebook and Twitter.


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