HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania on Tuesday awarded permits to 12 applicants to grow and process medical marijuana, a landmark as the state aims to make the drug available to patients sometime next year.
The Health Department named the entities scattered across the state that were selected from 177 applicants. The first round of permits for 27 dispensary permits should be announced by the end of next week.
"This was a huge day for patients and for the people of Pennsylvania," said state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, a main sponsor of the medical marijuana law enacted in April 2016. "We can see light at the end of the tunnel."
The 12 growers will have six months to meet standards that demonstrate they are operational, after which the state will give them permission to begin growing.
If they don't make it, state officials will give them more time, after which the agency will consider what next step to take, said John Collins, director of the Office of Medical Marijuana.
On Tuesday, the state released the names and locations of the growers, as well as the scorecards used to decide which applicants were most worthy.
They were judged on such aspects as security, storage, processing and extraction, and the community impact.
Regulations require the growing to be indoors in an enclosed facility.
Collins said additional information about the grower-processors, including the names of the principal owners, is expected to be released in July.
Patients and caregivers should be able to register in September, with cards being issued in November.
The law lets patients take the medicine by pill, oil, vapor, ointment or liquid, but not in a form that can be smoked.