Pennsylvania Health Dept firm on keeping evaluation panel secret

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on October 02, 2017.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is firm on its decision to conceal the identities of state employees who evaluated the publications of State medical marijuana patients.

The Department has taken the matter to the Commonwealth Court after the State Office of Open Records ordered the State Health Department to furnish details of the evaluation committee members. The Office of Open Records has sought the names, job titles and employers of the evaluation committee members.

“Releasing this information puts these state employees at personal risk for harassment and the regulations specifically protect this information, as best practices from other states support insulating these state employees from outside influence or harassment,” the Health Department said in a statement.

“These highly vetted employees, all issue area experts, worked to ensure that the department chose the best companies to provide relief to children and other in need of this medicine.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health had received a total of 280 applications for dispensary license, which included 45 application in the northeast region. For the cultivator permits, the State Department had received 170 applications. 

After scrutiny by the evaluation committee, the Health Department had issued licenses to 27 dispensaries and 12 cultivators. As per the law, the patients are eligible to apply for the medical marijuana card only if they have qualified for at least one of the 17 prescribed medical conditions, including epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other seizure disorders.

For the potential cultivators, they were required to submit a non-refundable application fee of $10,000 and a permit fee of $30,000 which is refundable if the permit is not granted.

The Health Department had earlier quashed all claims of medical marijuana cultivators trying to sell licenses to other companies.

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