The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that as of earlier this month, the Medical Marijuana Program has exceeded five million dispensing events. The program has also recently operationalized two clinical registrants to participate in the medical marijuana research program, bringing the total number of operational clinical registrants to three.
“Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program continues to be a leader for the country in terms of program growth and the first in the nation research program,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Operationalizing the clinical registrants partnered with three of our academic clinical research centers is essential to providing physicians with more evidence-based research to make clinical decisions for their patients. This is the cornerstone of our program and the key to our clinically-based, patient-focused program for those suffering with cancer, PTSD and other serious medical conditions.”
At the end of April, the state’s first clinical registrant, MLH Explorations, LLC was operationalized. MLH Explorations, LLC is partnered with the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
Within the last week, the program operationalized our second and third clinical registrants, Organic Remedies, Inc., partnered with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and PA Options for Wellness, Inc., partnered with Penn State College of Medicine.
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.
Three clinical registrants were approved in June 2019, with four additional clinical registrants approved in February of 2020. Applications for the remaining clinical registrant are currently being reviewed.
There are close to 205,000 active certifications as part of the medical marijuana program. Nearly 356,000 patients and caregivers are registered for the program in order to obtain medical marijuana for one of 23 serious medical conditions.
There are currently 87 operational dispensaries in the commonwealth providing medication to patients. Active cardholders are continuing to visit dispensaries more than once a month to get treatment for a serious medical condition. More than 14 million products have been sold since the start of the program, and total sales within the program are over $1 billion, which includes sales by the grower/processors to the dispensaries, and sales by the dispensaries to patients and caregivers.
To date, there are 26 grower/processors deemed operational in Pennsylvania, and 15 of those are actively shipping to dispensaries, and many grower/processors are expanding at their permitted location.
More than 1,900 physicians have registered for the program, close to 1,400 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 25, 2020, 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 a cardholder in their vehicle 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 cardholders; 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.