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Department of Health Launches Medical Marijuana Research Program


Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today launched the first-in-the-nation research program for medical marijuana by announcing the first three approved clinical registrants that will work with approved universities to conduct clinical research on any of the 21 serious medical conditions.   

“Pennsylvania is on the forefront of clinical research on medical marijuana,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “This research is essential to providing physicians with more evidence-based research to make clinical decisions for their patients. It is the cornerstone of our program and the key to our clinically-based, patient-focused program for those suffering with cancer, PTSD and other serious medical conditions.”   

The first three clinical registrants are: 

  • PA Options for Wellness, Inc., affiliated with Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey 

  • Agronomed Biologics LLC, affiliated with Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia   

  • MLH Explorations, LLC, affiliated with Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia 

This July, the department will bring together all eight academic clinical research centers and the three clinical registrants to discuss what research they will be conducting, and how they hope those outcomes will help patients. 

The research program, guided by Act 43 of 2018, allows for eight clinical registrants who each must hold both a grower/processor and a dispensary permit. Clinical registrants must have a research contract with one of eight approved academic clinical research centers.   

There are more than 106,000 active certifications as part of the medical marijuana program. Approximately 1,600 physicians have registered for the program, more than 1,140 of whom have been approved as practitioners.  

The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has: 

  • Completed temporary regulations to enact the program; 

  • Convened the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board;  

  • Approved six training providers for physician continuing education; 

  • Approved four laboratories to test medication before it is delivered to patients; 

  • Registered nearly 159,000 total patients and issued more than 130,000 identification cards; 

  • Validated over 1.2 million dispensing events with more than 3.4 million products sold;  

  • Issued 25 grower/processors permits, 18 of which are operational; 

  • Issued 50 dispensary permits and approved 51 locations to begin operations;  

  • Certified eight medical schools as Academic Clinical Research Centers; and 

  • Approved three clinical registrants. 

The medical marijuana program offers medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a practitioner’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law.   

View the clinical registrant applications, score cards and facility locations here.  

For more information about the medical marijuana program, visit or follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter

MEDIA CONTACT:    Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or 

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