The Pennsylvania medical marijuana program was signed into law in April of 2016 and now there is real hope that cannabis will be available to patients by February of 2018. It has not been a quick process for Pennsylvania, however Cresco Yeltrah was just granted the first official license by the state to grow and sell medical marijuana earlier this week. The dispensary will be located just northeast of Pittsburgh and believes it will have mature cannabis plants by February of next year.
Other states have been much quicker to implement laws surrounding legalized marijuana. Voters in Florida just approved medical marijuana last November and it is already available to them. Nevada became one of the recreational weed states and was selling recreational marijuana by July 1st of this year. Whether Pennsylvania has just been more thoughtful about implementing its cannabis laws or was simply slow to act, the cannabis program is moving forward. Another 11 medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to be granted licenses soon too for what is expected to be a robust medical marijuana market in Pennsylvania. Do you think that states like Florida and Nevada rushed into their marijuana programs and that Pennsylvania patients will go through a more efficient and effective process for medical marijuana?
A medical marijuana grower/processor in western Pennsylvania became the first state licensee Tuesday to receive the go-ahead to begin production.
Cresco Yeltrah in Jefferson County, northeast of Pittsburgh, is one of 12 grower/processors licensed for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, the state Department of Health announced.
“Every day we hear from patients who are desperately waiting for medical marijuana to help alleviate the symptoms of their serious medical conditions,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. “My message to them today is that Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is moving forward and we will have medication to them sometime in 2018.
“Cresco Yeltrah will now be able to grow medical marijuana, making sure that patients will not have to wait much longer.”
Cresco Yeltrah is cleared to begin accepting seeds and clones to grow medical marijuana after undergoing several state health inspections, according to Tuesday’s announcement. It also is fully integrated with the state-approved seed-to-sale tracking system.
“In the coming weeks, we expect the 11 other grower/processors to be ready to grow and process medical marijuana,” Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Rachel Levine said in a statement. “We are working with them, as well as the dispensaries, to ensure the program stays on track. Patients are our first priority, and we want to get medication to them as safely and efficiently as possible.”
The state issued the grower/processor permits in June, selecting the 12 winners from among 177 applicants. The department has also issued permits to 27 entities to operate retail dispensaries, including GuadCo LLC’s Keystone Canna Remedies at 2467 Baglyos Circle in Bethlehem Township and Mission Pennsylvania II LLC at 2733 W. Emmaus Ave. in Allentown.
Cresco Yeltrah says in a news release it is constructing a state-of-the-art cultivation center and laboratory in northwest Brookville and dispensaries in Butler, Pittsburgh (Strip District) and a third location soon to be announced.
Construction on converting the 40,000-plus-square-foot facility began immediately after the permit was awarded, according to the company.
“All of the required mechanisms are in place to ensure the safety and security as required by law,” the release states. “With a controlled cultivation environment, a full grow cycle takes approximately 120 days which will allow for their complete line of products to be available for patients statewide in February 2018.”
Pennsylvania’s program allows medical marijuana to be prescribed only in the forms of a pill or oil; topical forms, including gel, creams or ointments; a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, excluding dry leaf or plant form; tincture or liquid.
Cresco Yeltrah says it “will grow a variety of over 30 different genetic strains in Brookville and will produce a unique array of innovative pharmaceutical-grade marijuana products ranging from high CBD strains, vapor oils, transdermal patches and pills.
“Cresco Yeltrah’s distinctive line of products ensures patients will receive consistent, repeatable, precision-dosed medicine — as the program does not allow for the sale of raw marijuana flower. Their scientifically developed products utilize all beneficial properties of the marijuana plant including methods of relief without the typical ‘high’ or euphoric feeling the plant is known for.”
The grower/processor has also launched an awareness and outreach campaign featuring billboards and print and digital ads geared toward medical marijuana education for Pennsylvanians diagnosed with any of the 17 conditions approved for a cannabis prescription.
Those conditions are:
-Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
-Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity.
-HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
-Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
-Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
-Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic
intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective.
-Sickle Cell Anemia.
The Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law by Wolf on April 17, 2016.
Its continued rollout comes despite a lawsuit filed by Bethlehem-based Keystone ReLeaf LLC that seeks to block the issuance of grower/processor permits. The suit filed Sept. 8 remains pending in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, with a hearing scheduled Oct. 31 in Harrisburg.