February 14, 2018

Pennsylvania set to begin rollout of medical marijuana program

Government Medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana photo Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Medical marijuana.

Pennsylvania's long-awaited medical marijuana program is ready for takeoff.

Governor Tom Wolf, who signed the program into law in April 2016, announced that medical marijuana will be available to patients at approved dispensaries beginning Thursday.

“Pennsylvanians have been waiting years for this moment,” Governor Wolf said. “Medical marijuana is legal, safe and now available to Pennsylvanians suffering from 17 serious medical conditions. In less than two years, we have developed a regulatory infrastructure, approved physicians as practitioners, certified patients to participate and launched a new industry to help thousands find relief from their debilitating symptoms.”

The first dispensary to open will be Cresco Yeltrah in western Pennsylvania's Butler County. By Friday, a total of six dispensaries will be open to serve patients.

“Our work continues to increase access to this important medical tool,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, acting health secretary and Physician General. “Our teams are crisscrossing the state inspecting dispensaries as they are ready to open their doors. Each week we will be adding locations where Pennsylvanians suffering from serious medical conditions can get this medication.”

More than 17,000 patients have already registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, including nearly 4,000 who have been certified by a physician. Another 708 physicians have registered for the program and 376 have completed the required certification.

Pennsylvania dispensaries will not carry smokeable forms of marijuana. The medication will be legally available by prescription in pill, oil or ointment for patients suffering from one of the state's 17 qualifying conditions, from epilepsy and Parkinson's disease to autism and Crohn's disease.

Last summer, Philadelphia was granted three permits for medical marijuana dispensaries, including two in Northeast Philadelphia and one in Fishtown. A fourth dispensary location in East Mount Airy, initially planned by Montgomery County permit holder TerraVida Holistic Centers, was nixed after strong opposition from community members.   

Other dispensary locations in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region include Abington, Elkins Park, Bensalem, Devon, Upper Darby, Phoenixville, Plymouth Meeting, Sellersville and Yeadon.

Learn more about Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program here.