HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Twelve companies are officially now allowed to take part in the budding business of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
The director of the state's medical marijuana program made the announcement Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol.
The state has six different medical marijuana regions (Northwest, North Central, Northeast, Southwest, South Central, and Southeast).
Several companies applied for grower/processor permits in south central Pennsylvania. Tuesday, the state medical marijuana director revealed where, and which companies were given the green light.
There were 29 companies competing to grow and process medical marijuana in south central Pennsylvania alone, but with a limited number of permits available, only two could make the cut.
Pennsylvania Office of Medical Marijuana director John Collins said "issuing permits today for growers and processors today is a significant step forward in the implementation of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program."
Collins announced two permits were granted in each of the state's six different medical marijuana regions.
In the 13-county south central Pennsylvania region, Ilera Healthcare in Waterfall, Fulton County, and AES Compassionate Care in Chambersburg, Franklin County, ranked high enough on the application score card to receive a permit.
"Their location was the result of the competitive process, and as long as we had distribution across the regions, where they selected their location is where they ended up being, because that was their choice," Collins said.
Those who lost out receiving a permit may wonder who made the choice of keeping score and granting a permit.
"Our regulations maintain the anonymity of team members to avoid any interference with their work or influence from outside parties," Collins said.
Now that permits have been granted, access to medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is closer than it has ever been before.
"We remain on track to get medication to patients with serious medical conditions in 2018," Collins said.
Companies that lost out on getting a permit have ten days to appeal the decision.
Growers and processors which were awarded permits have six months to get up and running.
A list of state-approved dispensaries should be announced by the end of June.