Pennsylvania Moves Forward With Medical Marijuana Research Despite Federal Ban

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Pennsylvania moved forward on Thursday with a plan to permit medical marijuana research, outlining the process by which medical schools can seek approval for such studies.

The state will allow as many as eight medical schools to conduct research on medical marijuana. So far, at least one, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has said it intends to seek permission to do so, reported.

Medical schools in the state will work with separate marijuana growers to supply the substance for research. Those growers and distributors will have to seek a separate approval from the state, according to the news outlet.

Pennsylvania is expected to begin accepting applications from more growers, processors and dispensaries next month.

Pennsylvania moved in 2016 to legalize medical marijuana, and became the first state to codify research on the substance into the law.

Marijuana is still considered by the federal government to be a Schedule 1 controlled substance, though federal officials have generally declined to enforce that ban, and have left the decision to individual states.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has long opposed the legalization of marijuana, and in January announced the rollback of an Obama-era policy that gave states the leeway to allow recreational use of the drug.

So far, there are 13 dispensaries approved to sell medical marijuana to patients in Pennsylvania, though only nine are actively doing so. reported that the state’s dispensaries have faced supply issues, with only two growers currently shipping products.