Pennsylvania set to begin rollout of medical marijuana program

Hampden Township medical marijuana dispensary to open Friday

NJ medical marijuana: These big changes could be coming to state's program

You need to have a medical marijuana card to book an appointment.

The medical marijuana to go on sale this week has been grown and processed in Pennsylvania by state-regulated entities.

Qualified patients with a doctor's recommendation will receive a Pennsylvania medical marijuana identification card, allowing the purchase of medical marijuana from an authorized state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

"My understanding is that our site is scheduled for inspection next week, February 22 or 23, and will open shortly after that", said Dr. Anthony Bartkowiak, who practices internal medicine.

More than 17,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program and 4,000 have been certified by physicians, the governor's news release said.

Physicians continue to register to participate in the program, she added. A little under 400 doctors have been certified to prescribe medical marijuana.

Only those enrolled as patients or caregivers are allowed inside dispensaries.

The state has no immediate plans to intervene to set prices statewide, she said.

"I am feeling so many different emotions making my first purchase of medical marijuana legally in Pennsylvania, from excitement that Hannah and others will finally have access to a safe alternative treatment option, to relief that I will not have to worry about where I am going to get her product or if it will get to me timely", said Heather Shuker whose daughter Hannah suffers from severe intractable epilepsy.

"They have been crisscrossing the state looking at the dispensaries and at the grower processors", said acting Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine. Others expected to open their doors in the near future include facilities in Bethlehem, Pittsburgh and Enola that will open Friday; and dispensaries in Sellersville and Devon that are slated to open Saturday.

In the FOX43 viewing area, permits have been issued to companies looking to open additional dispensaries in Lancaster, Hanover and Steelton in the opening introductory phase.

Heather Shuker, of Marshall Township, says medical cannabis makes a huge difference for her daughter, Hannah.

A dispensary in Butler, near Pittsburgh, will be the first to begin sales on Thursday, the governor's office said.

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