Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced Monday that eight universities in the state have been licensed to begin studying medical marijuana. Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is just three months old, with the first dispensaries opening their doors to patients in February.
In a press conference announcing the colleges awarded the research permits, Gov. Wolf said, “Today, medical research is so limited by the federal government that only a few doctors can even have access to medical marijuana. Pennsylvania’s premiere medical schools will be able to help shape the future of treatment for patients who are in desperate need not just here, but across the country.”
The universities awarded research permits include the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, the Drexel University College of Medicine, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
Research of cannabis has been limited, mostly because the plant is still illegal under federal law, and the research that has been approved by government agencies so far uses notoriously poor quality cannabis from the University of Mississippi. However, the universities involved in the research program in Pennsylvania will use cannabis from the state’s licensed medical marijuana producers.
“It is important to note that Pennsylvania is the first and only state in the country to institute such a program, and we believe that the research that will be conducted by the School of Medicine in collaboration with [University of Pennsylvania Medical Center] will be of great importance in determining the safety, efficacy and effectiveness of medical cannabis products in treating specific diseases,” Pitt School of Medicine officials said in a statement Monday.
The eight available clinical registrant permits for growers/producers of medical marijuana have not yet been granted. Applications will be available through the Pennsylvania Health Department as of May 24 and must be filed no later than July 12.