The state of Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana in April of this year – and since then lawmakers have been working tirelessly to get regulations for the industry drafted in order to get things moving forward. They have already drafted general regulations, created a workgroup for healthcare workers who will be a part of the state’s program, and there have been over 100 Safe Harbor Letter applications since the bill was signed into law.
The draft general regulations cover things such as fees, inspection reporting, advertising and guidelines on locations. The new regulations for growers include security, storage, maintenance, pesticides, tracking, recalls, disposal, packaging, transportation and more. They have also already determined a full list of pesticides which will be permitted for use on medical marijuana – it appears they’re doing their best to cover all the ground they can in one go.
“One of our biggest accomplishments to date is the development of temporary regulations for marijuana growers and processors,” says Secretary Murphy. “We received nearly 1,000 comments from members of the community, the industry and our legislative partners.”
Now all that’s left is for the public to input their opinions about the draft regulations as well as help them find direction in creating the draft regulations for dispensaries and laboratories as well. According to Secretary Murphy, “The final temporary regulations for dispensaries will be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin by the end of the year.” This is all leading to eventually having these regulations permanently instated and getting the industry up and running.
They are expecting it to take roughly 18-24 months from the end of this year for their medical marijuana program to be in full swing – which is an excellent time frame compared to some states who ended up taking years to even settle on regulations and were then forced to rush applicants through in order to get the industry running in the first place. If they keep up at the pace they’ve been at, patients are likely looking at the lesser end of 18 months before medical marijuana products will be available in dispensaries.
It’s important when programs like this are implemented that all the different angles are covered – ensuring that products are safe, consistently grown, processed, tested and sold in secure locations – which is why these regulations are so important. However, getting the medicine to the patients as quickly as possible should also be a priority – and it seems that Pennsylvania lawmakers realize this and are working diligently to stick to their original timeframe and have medical marijuana available to patients as quickly as they possibly can.