The Recently Announced Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Research Program Faces Delays

Last week Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the state's new medical marijuana research program. But, that decision has since been contested in court and now faces reviews before it can go live.

Lawyer Judith Cassel—who is representing the group contesting the new cannabis research act—says the opposition comes from the concern that the program would not implement proper vetting of companies conducting research. She says that under the current research program companies who contract one of the eligible med-schools for cannabis research would be able to sell and distribute cannabis products without securing the permits that would normally be required, a loophole that Cassel and others in the industry would like to see patched.

"They created these super-permits that are just big commercial entities that haven’t gone through the vetting process that are going to be automatically rubber-stamped and put into action to sell in the commercial market," Cassel told The Daily Pennsylvanian. "It isn’t what the act intended."

There are worries on the research side too. Penn Medicine Psychology Professor Marcel Bonn-Miller has stated his concern that too much of the proposed research won't be rigorous enough to produce useful results.

"It sounds like the engagement between Penn and those growers/dispensers within Pennsylvania is going to lead to research that is primarily observational in nature," said Bonn-Miller. "That research is important but it’s also limiting, meaning what’s really needed in the field of cannabinoid research is clinical trials."

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