Medical marijuana now legal in Pennsylvania

Regulations, application process in development

Gov. Tom Wolf grasps the hands of advocates Latrisha Bentch, left, and Dana Ulrich after signing of a bill, which legalizes marijuana for medical use, Sunday, April 17 in the capitol rotunda in Harrisburg. - (Photo / Amy Spangler)

On Tuesday Pennsylvania officially became the 24th state with a legal medical marijuana program.

The state’s medical marijuana bill, introduced as Senate Bill 3, is now known as Act 16.

It took effect on May 17, 30 days after S.B. 3 was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf on April 17.

Businesses that want to grow, process or dispense medical marijuana in Pennsylvania have between six to eight months before the deadline for application.

A likely deadline is January 2017, according to Russ Cersosimo, director of strategic alliances for the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society.

In addition to applying to become a grower, processor or dispenser, businesses can also apply for a vertical license, which covers growing, processing and dispensing all in one.

Applicants could learn as soon as April 2017 whether their applications have been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which will operate the program.

Midstate businesses are preparing to break into the medical marijuana industry, and last week the Cannabis Society held a networking social in Harrisburg.

More than 100 people attended the event, and some have already established LLCs in preparation for their license applications.

This weekend, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy organization is hosting a business seminar in Philadelphia.

The Marijuana Policy Project is calling the seminar “Pennsylvania Canna-Business Seminar,” and it will take place at The Logan Hotel on May 21 at 9 a.m.

The event will cover the specifics of the medical marijuana law and best practices for businesses.

Officials in the state Department of Health are writing the medical marijuana program’s regulations, an effort that should take about six months to complete, according to the law.

Among the department’s first step is to hire a director for its newly established Bureau of Medical Marijuana. Applications are due by Friday.

Lenay Ruhl

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