As a rush of medical marijuana investors floods Southeastern Pennsylvania in the scramble to obtain one of the two growing permits allotted to the region, the law that makes it all possible is already being graded.

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law, enacted last April, has received a B-minus in the annual report from Americans for Safe Access, “a national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research,” which is how their web site describes their mission.

“We’re hoping next year, Pennsylvania’s grade will stay constant or even go up,” said Steph Sherer, executive director at Americans for Safe Access.

The report, “A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” determines grades by setting a number of fixed parameters, such as “patient rights/civil protection,” “access to medicine,” and “consumer safety and provider requirement” and measuring the laws in each of the 44 states which have made medical marijuana legal against those benchmarks.

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Pennsylvania’s law — not yet fully implemented — received high marks for its functionality and ease of navigation, neither of which has been field-tested yet, as the medicine is not yet being distributed.

It received lower marks for protections of patient rights, access to medicine and the lowest (37 out of 100) for consumer safety and provider requirements, but mostly that’s because ASA wants to see how they are implemented, Sherer said.

“If Pennsylvania can move through the implementation process in a timely manner and adopt strong product safety protocols, like those outlined in this report, it could be one of the stronger programs in the country,” she said.

Since Pennsylvania passed its law last year, five other states have legalized recreational use of marijuana and four more have passed medicinal use bills.

ASA

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