Pennsylvania launches online medical marijuana registry for patients

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania reaches another milestone in its medical marijuana program.

The Medical Marijuana Patient and Caregiver Registry is up and running online, for people wanting to take part in the program.

The state's medical marijuana program has made major strides in approving licenses for growers, processors, and dispensaries.

Wednesday's focus was on finding approved doctors and getting the medication to patients.

Pennsylvania's Acting Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has a message that many patient's may have been waiting to hear.

"We will get medical marijuana to patients within the next six months. We are one step closer, one step closer today," Dr. Levine  said.

Lolly Bentch is the first one to sign up with the state's Medical Marijuana Patient and Caregiver Registry. She registered as a caregiver to get the medication for her ten-year-old daughter who suffers seizures.

"It is one step closer. It feels more like a giant leap closer, but whatever it is, whatever it feels like, it's a good thing," Bentch said.

Before anyone registers for the program, Director of Pennsylvania's Office of Medical Marijuana  John Collins explained what prospective patients and caregivers should do first.

"Talk with your doctor to see if medical marijuana is a treatment option for you. Next, make sure that your state ID or driver's license is current," Collins said.

"Patients and caregivers can go to our website (here), and register to participate in the medical marijuana program," Dr. Levine  said.

So far, the health department has approved more than 100 Pennsylvania doctors as medical marijuana practitioners. It may seem like a small number for the state, but it's just a start.

"We have nearly 200 more that are going through the process, to become approved, and we want more and more physicians throughout the commonwealth to register for the program," Dr. Levine  said.

"It's been a really long journey. We're finally seeing all of our work, all of our efforts, all of our tears, and all of the joy, finally coming to fruition," Bentch said.​

The next steps in the medical marijuana program for the state include waiting for all of the growers and processors to start growing and processing the drug. Afterwards, once all of the dispensaries are up and running, medical marijuana will become available to patients in Pennsylvania.