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Here’s how the shiny new Pennsylvania medical marijuana program is shaping up

  THE BACKDROP: A NEW LAW AND DEVELOPING PROGRAM The law sets standards for tracking plants, certifying physicians and licensing growers, dispensaries and physicians. Patients will be able to take marijuana in pill, oil, vapor, ointment or liquid form but won’t be able to legally obtain marijuana to smoke or grow. TIMETABLE The Health Department must license growers and processors, license dispensaries, register physicians to prescribe the drug and issue patient identification cards. The state is developing applications for each step of the process, and the department expects to publish temporary regulations for growers and processors in the Pennsylvania Bulletin this fall. The department has requested public feedback on the program and plans to issue temporary regulations for dispensaries, physicians, patients and caregivers and laboratories by the end of the year. WHO QUALIFIES FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA? Patients must have one of 17 serious medical conditions listed under the law to qualify for use as well as hold a medical marijuana identification card. Applications are not yet available for adult patients to buy out of state, but approved caregivers can apply to buy marijuana and bring it into Pennsylvania for children. Some states, like Nevada, provide out-of-state authorizations. WHERE WILL IT BE GROWN AND DISPENSED? The law allows for up to 25 marijuana growers and processors as well as up to 50 dispensaries that can have three locations each. States have launched programs with different licensing volumes, and Pennsylvania will likely evaluate its number of licenses after the market is established. The state is trying to map out the demand for medical marijuana and the availability of public transportation to get patients to a dispensary. LICENSING GROWERS, DISPENSARIES AND PHYSICIANS Physicians must register with the program and take a four-hour course to qualify for licensing. Growers and dispensaries must apply with the state, pay a permit fee, show a proof of capital, undergo a background check and complete a two-hour training course. The applications for each are expected to become available by the end of the year. ___ Online:Minor Safe Harbor Physician Form Medical marijuana programs by statePennsylvania’s qualifying conditions Source: (AP / Cannabist)

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