Pennsylvania Department of Health officials announced 12 medical marijuana grower permits were issued Tuesday, but neither of the two companies picked to operate in southeastern Pennsylvania are based in Bucks or Montgomery counties. In the 11 southwestern counties around Pittsburgh, five permits will be issued for dispensaries, with two going to Allegheny County and one each to Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties. Ham sees his role as educating people.
"A past evaluation by several Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), concluded that no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use". The state got 457 applications: 177 for the grower permits and another 280 for the dispensary permits.
The winners of those permits, 27 in all, will be announced by the end of June.
This won't be the last time we hear about medical marijuana this month.
The 12 growers will have six months to meet standards that demonstrate they are operational, after which the state will give them permission to begin growing.
One local company that did not receive a permit is TheraBloom, a subsidiary of van Hoekelen Greenhouses, which applied to grow and produce marijuana plants in Kline Township.
"Today, to ensure compliance with our constitutional duties, the department published proposed rules for the implementation of Amendment 2, which was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in 2016", Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said in an email Friday.
Officials believe medical marijuana will be available in the state in 2018.
Gambineri said the department is crafting rules to comply with SB 8-A, "which provides a framework for patients to access marijuana safely".
Daylin Leach, D-17, held a separate conference thanking Wolf, the department and the law's co-sponsor, state Rep. Mike Folmer, R-48, on the work done so far to pass and implement Pennsylvania's medical marijuana law.
Leach said that the anecdotal evidence from people with Safe Harbor letters is that some patients have experienced "miraculous results".
Salemme's son has epilepsy.
"That's a major concern", she said. "We don't want the program stalled". Collins said DOH hasn't determined a timeline for phase two of the program's rollout.