They said it would never happen. They said the General Assembly was too conservative. They said Pennsylvania, a state where until recently the sale of booze on Sundays was frowned upon, would never permit and regulate ­medical marijuana. Well, one year after Gov. Tom Wolf signed Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act into law, it has ­become ­abundantly clear—they were wrong.

On May 17, Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act turns a year old. And while there was justifiable concern at the time of passage that the program would take years to get off the ground, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health (DOH) has done a commendable job ensuring that Pennsylvania’s citizens will soon have access to medical marijuana. This article will revisit the progress made over the last 12 months, showcasing the efforts made to bring one of the fastest-growing industries to our area.

On June 25, 2016, only one month after the law became effective, the DOH released temporary regulations concerning the safe-harbor provision of the act. Instead of making the most vulnerable and youngest of patients wait for medical care, the DOH implemented a system where parents and guardians could obtain recommendations from their children’s doctors for the use medical marijuana. If recommended, then the parents could obtain from the DOH a letter stating that their possession of ­medical marijuana was not a violation of state criminal laws. Albeit limited in scope, the program has already approved over 200 applications for safe-harbor letters.

Then, beginning in the fall of 2016 the DOH began releasing temporary regulations concerning the supply side of the medical marijuana industry. First, general ­regulations concerning permit applications were released alongside specific regulations for the growing and processing of medical marijuana. Shortly thereafter, regulations concerning dispensaries and testing facilities were released. While many feared that the DOH would take years

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