Medical Marijuana Research to Begin in Pennsylvania

Max Savage Levenson, Leafly

In recent years, we’ve seen medical breakthroughs in cannabis come from all over the country—even the hinterlands of pot policy like Pennsylvania, where Gov. Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act in April 2016.

“This is a great, great day for Pennsylvania,” he exclaimed at the time in the state’s Capitol Building, surrounded by an overflowing crowd of lawmakers and medical marijuana patients and their families.

The bill yielded OK results so far:

Pennsylvania has certified 44,000 cannabis patients, as well as over 800 practitioners.

Yet one of its most exciting features—a mandate for medical research—came up against big roadblocks, and Wolf failed to greenlight the program until September.

Originally, the bill designated research centers at universities to conduct studies related to the state’s list of 21 qualifying medical conditions. But plans came to a halt in May, when 11 cannabis cultivators and dispensary permit holders filed an injunction. A revised bill, Act 43, passed in June. Wolf certified the first eight research centers last month.

“The research component of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program sets it apart from the rest of the nation,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. “Pennsylvania’s premiere medical schools will be able to help shape the future of treatment for patients not just here, but across the country.”

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