In this Sept. 4, 2019 photo, Jake Van Wingerden checks some of the marijuana plants in one of the grow rooms at SunMed Growers at the company’s grow facility in Warwick, Md. Van Wingerden is the owner of SunMed Growers, which is the largest medical marijuana grower in Maryland. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via AP)
Michael Robinson Chavez
All six states bordering Pennsylvania enacted medical marijuana programs and with only one exception, they share a theme with the Keystone State: Rapid expansion of their patient bases.
Pennsylvania’s program had quickly grown to become the biggest among its neighbors. The state’s registry, as of Sept. 16, boasts 172,500 people with medical marijuana cards, 131,000 of which are considered active patients. Another 27,000 are navigating the certification process, according to the Department of Health.
The patients are free to shop at 60 approved dispensaries across Pennsylvania. No border state has more participants or dispensary options, according to the states’ respective medical marijuana agencies.
Though Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia all trail in these categories, the theme of growth is the same, save for West Virginia, which is struggling to get its program in operation.
Maryland’s program counts 56,000 certified patients, with 250 to 350 patients registering each day, according to a recent Baltimore Sun report.
Officials said the number of patients has more than tripled from the 18,000 people who first registered in Maryland to seek relief from severe pain, seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions.
Lawmakers there adopted medical marijuana law in 2013. The program is nearing its second anniversary after going live in the fall of 2017.
“We just had the highest sales month (August) we’ve ever had,” said George