Phase 2: PA Rolls Out Applications For More Dispensaries and Medical Marijuana Research

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health and the state’s medical marijuana program is rolling out Phase 2 of their plan. In addition to offering up 13 new permits for cultivators and processors, and 23 new medical marijuana dispensaries, Phase 2 will allow the state’s universities and hospitals to participate in medical marijuana research.

“It’s not a normal pharmaceutical research structure by any means.” Eric Hagarty, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf, told reporters, “the conflict with federal law is primarily the reason for that.”

Normal or not, Chapter 20 of the state’s medical marijuana law defines medical schools as “Academic Clinical Research Centers” and identifies participating marijuana companies as “Clinical Registrants.”

Per Section 3 of Chapter 20:

“Notwithstanding any provision of this act to the contrary, the department may, upon application, approve the dispensing of medical marijuana by a clinical registrant to the academic clinical research center for the purpose of conducting a research study.”

For the research, the clinical registrant must disclose the following information to the department of health (DOH) in its application:

  • The rationale for the cannabis research project
  • The strain and strength of medical marijuana to be used in the research study
  • The anticipated duration of the study
  • Evidence of approval of the trial by an accredited institutional review board

Philadelphia and the surrounding region will likely be one of the largest benefactors from the Phase 2 rollout of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Anticipated to receive nine of the 23 new medical marijuana dispensaries in Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), also located in Philly, announced they would create an academic clinical research center in 2016.

Initially funded by a $3 million contribution from Australian benefactors Barry and Joy Lambert, TJU’s research into medicinal cannabis is intended to educate today’s physicians.

Better known as the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University, TJU is not the only institute for higher learning in Pennsylvania interested in researching marijuana’s many compounds and cannabinoids.

According to NBC10,  Drexel University, Penn Medicine and the University of the Sciences have indicated interest in adding medical marijuana research to its programs.

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