Penn State's College of Medicine has been approved by the Pa. Department of Health as a Certified Academic Clinical Research Center in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, announced Monday that eight universities have been approved to study medical marijuana, according to a press release.
"Today, medical research is so limited by the federal government that only a few doctors can even have access to medical marijuana. Pennsylvania's premiere medical schools will be able to help shape the future of treatment for patients who are in desperate need not just here, but across the country," Wolf said in the release.
He said the research component of the commonwealth's medical marijuana program sets it apart from the rest of the country.
"Penn State College of Medicine has an opportunity to play an integral role in advancing society’s understanding of the medical potential of marijuana and assisting in the development of safe and effective therapies," Neil Sharkey, Penn State's vice president for research, said in a statement. "Partnering with licensed private entities and collaborating with our peer universities to tackle this priority of the commonwealth supports our land grant mission of research, teaching and service.
"The College of Medicine often investigates emerging therapies to advance our understanding of medical conditions, to develop beneficial treatments and to address unmet societal health needs."
The other universities include Drexel University College of Medicine; Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University; Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University; Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program was signed into law by Wolf in April 2016. According to the press release, more than 37,000 patients have registered to participate in the program, and more than 16,000 of them have received their identification cards and received medical marijuana at a dispensary.
Centre County's first medical marijuana dispensary, which is being brought to the region by PA Natural Medicine, is expected to open sometime this summer at 2105 N. Atherton St. in State College.