Medical marijuana sales begin!
Last update: February 21, 2018
February 15 was an historic day in the Keystone State. Less than two years after the governor signed Act 16 into law, six dispensaries began selling medical marijuana to patients and caregivers. Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country, and those involved in implementation should be applauded for reaching this point ahead of schedule.
To date, 10 dispensaries and 10 grower/processors have been approved to operate. Over the next few months, we expect up to 81 dispensary locations to open across the state. More than 17,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, with nearly 4,000 certified by a physician. As of mid-February, 708 physicians have registered with the department and 376 have competed the training to become certified practitioners.
However, the implementation process is not yet complete. The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is still working on its recommendations for changes to the program. On February 14, they met to discuss one of the most important issues — allowing patient access to medical cannabis flower. This is a vital expansion of the program that will improve patient access and lower costs. Only two states have attempted a medical program without flower, which led to disastrous results for patients. Learn more about the importance of patient access to flower.
Congratulations to the department of health and all of the lawmakers and advocates who made this possible.
Sensible marijuana policies spread as lawmakers return to work
In early January, the Erie City Council voted unanimously to make possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana a summary offense punishable by a $25 fine. Currently, the penalty is up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both. The mayor is expected to sign the measure into law.
Once the ordinance is enacted, Erie will join Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, and State College — and 22 states and the District of Columbia — all of which have stopped jailing individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Across the state, towns and cities are considering similar commonsense policies. Unfortunately, however, law enforcement can still enforce state law and impose criminal penalties and possible jail time.
To get involved locally, contact the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. You can find some background materials on decriminalization here.
MPP has developed a number of fact sheets for Pennsylvania patients, caregivers, doctors, and employers. Please print and share these materials with others, including your physician.
- Department of Health Guide to the Program
- Summary of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act
- How to Talk to Your Doctor About Medical Marijuana
- Guide for Doctors and Patients
- Guide for Employers and Employees
- Visiting Patients and Medical Marijuana Laws
- Research and Evidence on Qualifying Conditions
You can also learn more on MPP’s medical marijuana page.