HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Monday announced that as of late last week, the Medical Marijuana Program has operationalized its 100th dispensary, PharmaCann Penn LLC (Verilife) in Chester.
“Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program continues to be a leader for the country in terms of program growth and its first in the nation research program,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.
“Reaching 100 operational dispensaries is a milestone for the program, but we know there is much work to do. Our clinically-based, patient-focused program is committed to assisting those suffering with cancer, PTSD and other serious medical conditions.”
Of the 101 operational dispensaries, 99 of them are open and dispensing products to patients. Further, 27 grower/processors are operational, with 22 shipping products to dispensaries. Many of these grower/processors are either expanding their locations, or already have.
The clinical research program, guided by Act 43 of 2018, allows for eight clinical registrants who each must hold both a grower/processor and a dispensary permit. Clinical registrants must have a research contract with one of eight approved academic clinical research centers.
There are close to 281,000 active certifications as part of the medical marijuana program. Close to 504,000 patients and caregivers are registered for the program in order to obtain medical marijuana for one of 23 serious medical conditions.
Active cardholders are continuing to visit dispensaries more than once a month to get treatment for a serious medical condition.
More than 23 million products have been sold since the start of the program, and total sales within the program are more than $1.8 billion, which includes sales by the grower/processors to the dispensaries, and sales by the dispensaries to patients and caregivers. More than $1.1 billion in sales has been from the dispensaries to patients.
More than 2,060 physicians have registered for the program, and close to 1,500 of whom have been approved as practitioners.
The medical marijuana program offers medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and have been certified as having a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Act.
As of March 20, certain statutory and regulatory provisions have been temporarily suspended in order to implement the following changes in response to the COVID-19 emergency:
· Allow dispensary employees to provide medical marijuana to cardholders in their vehicles on the facility’s property;
· Remove the current cap that limits the number of patients assigned to one caregiver, to allow for more caregivers to patients in need;
· Eliminate background checks for caregiver applications, limited to renewal applications only, in order to expedite the caregiver renewal process;
· Waive in-person consultations and allow for remote consultations between approved practitioners and medical marijuana patients; and
· Waive limits that allow for medical marijuana to only be dispensed for 30 days by requiring approved practitioners to notate on the patient’s certification to dispense a 90-day supply.
The statutory and regulatory suspensions will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency is in effect.