Pennsylvania state senators who championed medical marijuana hopeful program will be running by Valentine's Day … – The Incline
The two state senators who championed medical marijuana in Pennsylvania are hopeful the program will be up and running by Valentine’s Day 2018.
That’s when Sen. Daylin Leach believes the first patients will be able to get cannabis from the state’s yet-to-open dispensaries, he said Friday afternoon at a medical marijuana conference in Pittsburgh. Leach and Sen. Mike Folmer emphasized that there’s no firm timeline, as growers and processors will still have to, well, grow and process cannabis after they receive licenses.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed the state’s medical marijuana bill into law on April 17 of last year. It allows physicians who undergo four hours of training to prescribe cannabis to patients with 17 conditions including pain. The Department of Health will issue up to 27 permits for dispensaries during the first phase of rollout, meaning 150 dispensaries will be able to operate statewide in different zones. The state will also issue up to 12 permits for growers and processors initially. Applications closed at the end of March, and the state should award licenses at the end of June, the senators said.
Competition for those licenses is fierce. When asked about ensuring diversity in the industry, Leach said applicants can gain points for being a minority or woman, for example. But both Leach and Folmer stressed that there’s no special way to obtain one. Even Wolf has a best friend who is applying, Leach said, but the governor can’t — and won’t — do anything to help.
Even though the medical program isn’t up and running yet, Friday’s conversation turned to what’s next — namely, recreational pot.
Folmer, a Republican from Central Pa., said he’s not against legalization, but added that he can’t be at the front of this issue because of the promises he had to make to his caucus to get medical marijuana passed.