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pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: A Look Back on How Far We’ve Come

Medically Reviewed by: Andrew Bucciarelli, BS, PharmD, RPh

In 2016, Governor Tom Wolfe signed a bill to legalize the use of medical marijuana for approved conditions in Pennsylvania.  Since then there has been a vast improvement in the accessibility to medical marijuana and Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries.

How We Started

Although we are currently celebrating the progression in the medical marijuana movement, let’s not forget how we started. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. Then, in 1998, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington joined California in legalizing medical marijuana. Fast forward 18 years later and Pennsylvania signed a bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana along with others to follow.

As of 2021, 36 states and 4 territories allow for the medical use of cannabis products.  While this means that a little over 70% of the US has legalized medical marijuana, we need to continue advocating for nationwide legalization. Let’s take a step back and see how Pennsylvania has progressed in the medical marijuana community.

Although legalized in April 2016, it took some time to make medical marijuana available to patients. Nearly two years later, in February 2018, Solevo Wellness became the first Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensary to open its doors with other Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries following close behind. Then, starting in August 2018, patients were able to obtain dry leaf medical marijuana from Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Growth of Qualifying Conditions

When the Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill was signed into practice, only 17 approved conditions were listed. In 2019, neurodegenerative diseases and terminal illnesses were added to the approved conditions.  As of 2021, there are now 23 approved conditions for medical marijuana.  Patients suffering from anxiety and Tourette Syndrome were most recently added to the approved conditions allowing them to get help from Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Growth of the PA Medical Marijuana Program

As the acceptance and use of medical marijuana continued to grow, the community realized they needed more Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries. Dispensaries began opening throughout the state, with Solevo launching a second dispensary in Zelienople in the Fall of 2018. Solevo continued to help the community gain easier access to medical marijuana by opening our third dispensary in Washington.

Another way we’ve seen the PA Medical Marijuana Program improve is that there have been discussions on offering trainings for police officers to identify medical marijuana that has been obtained through Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries. Currently, there has only been one bulletin sent out to police officers stating how to identify legal medical marijuana. While this training would be beneficial, it is important to remember to carry what you obtain from Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries in the original containers. In addition, you must always have your valid PA medical marijuana ID on you.

While there have been vast improvements in the accessibility to Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries and an increase in approved conditions, there is still room for improvement. This includes continuing to educate the community on medical marijuana and Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries. The community can also continue to advocate for additional conditions to be added to the approved list. At Solevo Wellness, we look forward for what’s to come next for the PA Medical Marijuana Program.

If you suffer from one of the approved conditions, speak to your doctor about learning if medical marijuana is an option for you. Or, if you are already approved to obtain medical marijuana, check out our locations to see which of our Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries is the most convenient for you.

If you have additional questions for Solevo Wellness, please check out our FAQ page or follow us on Facebook and direct message our team anytime. We’d love to hear from you!