As medical marijuana policy evolves in the U.S., the Pennsylvania Department of Health is on track to establish a functional program by 2018, though regulators have been tweaking the rules as they go along.
The department recently published rules for marijuana growers and processors, and there are some changes to the draft released back in August.
The biggest change is in the way the department will divide medical marijuana organizations geographically.
The original rule divvied up the state into three regions for purposes of overseeing medical marijuana licensees. The latest version splits the state into six regions, which matches the way the agency divides up the state for other purposes.
One side effect: One of the six regions will not be home to a so-called “super license,” which allows businesses to operate as a grower, processor and dispensary.
There are five such licenses available overall, “so one of these districts isn’t getting a super license,” said Dan Clearfield, an attorney in the Harrisburg office of Philadelphia-based law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC and a member of the firm’s regulated substance practice group.
Overall, the general consensus from people invested in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana market is that regulators are developing a program that doesn’t repeat mistakes seen in other states.