The legal distribution of medical marijuana began today in Pennsylvania, with six dispensaries opened throughout the state (and 81 planned to open in the coming months).
The new law, which officially took effect today, allows certified patients to obtain their medicine legally for the first time. Six out of the 10 dispensaries that have been approved to operate have opened their doors, and up to 81 more dispensaries are expected to open across the state over the next few months. Nearly 4,000 patients are certified to purchase medical marijuana products at these locations, and more than 13,000 are awaiting approval to participate in the program. This stage of the implementation process is taking place ahead of schedule, less than two years after Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 16 into law.
“Seriously ill Pennsylvanians will be able to get relief earlier than expected thanks to the diligent efforts of regulators and operators,” said Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project who helped lead the medical marijuana effort in the state legislature. “There is still a lot of work to be done before implementation is complete. We are hopeful that the medical marijuana program will continue to be refined and improved to ensure patients have safe, reliable, and affordable access to their medicine.”
The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is still in the process of making recommendations for changes to the program. The Board met this week to discuss allowing patients to access medical marijuana flowers at dispensaries as a way to increase treatment options and lower costs for patients.
Pennsylvania was the 24th state to pass and implement an effective medical marijuana law. There are 29 states with effective medical marijuana laws and more than a dozen states are expected to have medical marijuana bills introduced this year.