I-Team: Pennsylvania's "Pot Plan"

KLINE TOWNSHIP, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- After passing landmark legislation this spring authorizing medical marijuana, the commonwealth is now in the process of trying to figure out how it works.

I-team Reporter Kelly Choate takes a closer look at Pennsylvania's "Pot Plan" in this I-Team investigation.

Despite medical marijuana laws in more than two dozen states, including Pennsylvania, the product is still illegal under federal law, which means there are legal implications of growing, processing, and dispensing medical marijuana.

That doesn't mean businesses aren't interested in this new industry.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.

Inside Van Hoekelen Greenhouses in Kline Township, the poinsettias are prospering just in time for the holiday season.

Alex Van Hoekelen said it may not be long before marijuana plants are growing on this Schuylkill County property.  He applied for one of the first permits to grow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17th.  Full implementation of the program isn't expected until at least late next year.

Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy said one of the biggest accomplishments so far is the development of temporary regulations for growers and processors.

She said the department received nearly 1,000 comments from members of the community, the medical marijuana industry, and legislators.

The regulations outline the financial, legal, and operational requirements needed by individuals to be considered for a grower processor permit as well as where the facilities will be located.

The regulations also address an electronic tracking system, maintenance of equipment, sanitation and safety, tax reporting, and insurance requirements -- to name a few.

Matt Best is a Senior Consultant for Medicine Man Technologies -- a Colorado-based consulting company for the cannabis industry.

He said potential growers, processors, and dispensaries are eyeing Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program, especially since similar programs in neighboring states have been slow to take root.

According to a study by New Frontier Data, 68% of investors are now open to businesses that touch marijuana.

Van Hoekelen said he plans to follow the regulations and work with local officials to make sure his business blooms.

As the Department of Health continues to work on the implementation of the medical marijuana program, officials are collecting information from Pennsylvania residents who may be eligible patients.

You can take a confidential survey to share your thoughts.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Van Hoekelen Greenhouses: www.vanhoekelen.com

Pennsylvania Department of Health: www.health.pa.gov

Medicine Man Technologies: www.medicinemantechnologies.com


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