State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Medical marijuana program progresses

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jul 19, 2016 8:19 PM

The Department of Health is deciding on regulations for growers and dispensaries. (Photo by AP)

The state is making strides on developing its new medical marijuana program.

Secretary of Health, Doctor Karen Murphy, said since the commonwealth's legalization of medical marijuana in April, her department has been working constantly to build the program.

A big goal is to keep physicians included in the process.

A so-called "physicians workgroup" has been established, which Murphy said will work closely with state program coordinators.

Murphy said the goal is to create a partnership, so that the physicians "will want to be engaged and feel that the program is well-run."

The group will begin meeting soon.

A survey will also be going out to physicians and the public to collect feedback on potential regulations on doctors under the program.

Murphy said such a step is important, in part, because there is no precedent for a medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania.

"You know, it is building the program from the ground up," she said. "There was literally no infrastructure. So, I am pleased with the work that has been done."

In other areas, the first concrete signs of progress are beginning to emerge.

Murphy said interviews for a new medical marijuana program director are in their final phase, and an appointment should be announced next month.

Temporary regulations for growers and processors will also be released at that point as well.

They will be reevaluated after two years, and permanent ones will be established.

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