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State appoints medical marijuana program director

John Collins - (Photo / Submitted)

A man with expertise in business and the pharmaceutical industry has been tapped by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to head up the state’s medical marijuana program.

John J. Collins, who works in the department’s HIV Care Section, will begin serving on Aug. 8 as director of the Office of Medical Marijuana.

Collins will guide the office as it implements the state’s medical marijuana program, which was signed into law in April and is expected to be functional by early 2018.

Collins, who joined the health department in April, worked previously in Florida as COO for an Orlando-based nuclear pharmacy company. He has an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Lindenwood University, a private, Christian-based university in Missouri.

His experience in heavily regulated medical enterprise, market research and new product development are just some of the factors that made Collins a good fit for the new position, state officials said.

“Mr. Collins has an impressive record of executive leadership experience that will serve him well in his new role of overseeing the commonwealth’s high-quality, efficient and compliant medical marijuana program,” Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy said.

The department has been looking to fill the director position since May.

The department has six months from when medical marijuana became legal to complete regulations. So far the department has written and collected feedback on rules related to growing and processing and for dispensaries and laboratories.

It recently formed a medical marijuana working group of physicians from around the state. Participating health systems include Danville-based Geisinger Health System and Derry Township-based Penn State Health.

Lenay Ruhl

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