Researchers interested in studying marijuana are all too aware of the difficulty of getting through state and federal regulations. The permit process is long and onerous and scientists are limited to only a few government-approved growers in the nation for their supply. In another blow for marijuana research, Pennsylvania's governor, Tom Wolf, recently rejected eight permits to study medical marijuana as reported in the online newsletter, The Intelligence.
The research program, directed by Act 43 (20), specifies that growers/processors of marijuana certified by the state could apply for a clinical research permit that would allow them to partner with an accredited research organization, such as a hospital or university. According to the report in The Intelligence, clinical research facilities need a dedicated supplier or dispensary in order to register in some sort of research-industry partnership.
MLH Explorations LLC had applied and was denied a permit to develop a marijuana growing facility to qualify for the research program in conjunction with the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. Apparently, they are not the only facility that has been denied or had their registration delayed. However, several commercial medical marijuana permit holders in May sued the state for allegedly lax permitting and research guidelines. This prompted a Commonwealth Court judge to issue an injunction preventing the state from issuing research permits soon after.
While this injunction prompted an amendment to the research program law (Act 43, Chapter 20), suppliers and research institutes re-sued the state for being too vague on what was necessary to be granted a permit. Thus the current predicament. Philadelphia is not a legal state for marijuana, however, the players in this story are not advocating for recreational use. The research program is designed to help patients with few alternatives treatment with medical marijuana. Nevertheless, any medical treatment needs to be based on research, or such is the intent of Act 43.
MLH Explorations LLC had already received the go-ahead by the township of Falls, where the facility is meant to be built. Yet it is unknown what this state hold on the research permit will hold for the firm. Perhaps the most aggravating is the fact that MLH was approved by special exception by Gov. Wolf in April 2016 based on Chapter 20. It appears that special exception stopped there.
Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Pennsylvania Pressroom, www.theintell.com, www.legis.state.pa.us, www.health.pa.gov, Bucks County Courrier Times, statelaws.findlaw.com, www.levittownnow.com