Pennsylvania releases list of applicants to grow or process medical marijuana April 27, 2017 12:00 AM Eric Risberg/Associated Press
By Maria Panaritis / Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — Hundreds of applicants have asked for licenses to grow or sell medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, including more than 20 in the state’s southwest corner.

In their first accounting of the flood of applications, state Health Department officials said Wednesday that they received more than 500 packages by the March 20 deadline, and have sifted through 258 applications. Among those have been 22 applications to grow medical marijuana in southwest Pennsylvania.

But officials wouldn’t release the names of the people behind the company names — or divulge the locations where they propose to grow or sell the drug.

More company names will be released after additional applications have been reviewed.

Still, the applications illustrate the frenzied interest in getting in on the ground floor of the potentially lucrative medical marijuana industry, which some advocates hope will be the first step toward broader legalization of the drug.

Only 12 growing permits will be granted statewide.

The state has been moving swiftly to implement a law passed last year with support from both parties in the Republican-controlled Legislature. The law aims to supply cannabis to seriously ill patients who have any one of 17 qualifying ailments.

March 20 was the deadline for all materials for people vying for one of 12 initial grower

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