Pennsylvania issues permits to 12 medical marijuana growers

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The state Department of Health on Tuesday announced the 12 companies that have been selected to begin growing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, including one in Danville. Lawrence County is in the sixth region, which was designated to receive two grower/processor permits and two dispensary permits. Ham sees his role as educating people.

Feissner, 31, the son a former district judge in Freeland, said the permit is the culmination of three years of work, lobbying, advocating and educating about the benefits of medical marijuana.

A total of 177 applications for growers/processors were submitted across the commonwealth.

State officials are also expecting to hand out permits for dispensaries before the end of next week. But the constitutional amendment approved in November could make marijuana available to hundreds of thousands of patients - and make Florida one of the largest cannabis markets in the country.

The Department of Health will spend the next six months helping the growers become operational.

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Gabe Perlow, chief executive of PurePenn LLC of McKeesport, which got a permit, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that state officials "recognized PurePenn's business sense and equally strong mission to bring the highest-quality products to patients".

"I know the medical side of it", Feissner said.

The amendment gave doctors the authority to order marijuana for a broad swath of patients with debilitating conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.

Tuesday's announcement makes it feel like the push to provide medical marijuana to chronically ill patients in Pennsylvania has shifted from an abstract goal to a beginning of a real industry, said state Sen.

"There were many days when it seemed like this day would never come", Leach said.

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The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf on April 17 and is expected to be implemented by early 2018.

Leach said that the anecdotal evidence from people with Safe Harbor letters is that some patients have experienced "miraculous results".

Marijuana that will be used to treat 18 serious illnesses in Pennsylvania must be grown indoors in a secure facility, Collins said.

"That's a major concern", she said.

"This is what we want for the state of Pennsylvania". Collins said DOH hasn't determined a timeline for phase two of the program's rollout.

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