PENNSYLVANIA: Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today announced that John J. Collins has been named director of the Office of Medical Marijuana. Collins, who currently works in the Department of Health’s HIV Care Section, will assume his new role on Aug. 8, 2016.
“I am pleased to announce the department has identified a highly qualified and skilled individual from among our own staff to serve as the Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana,” said Secretary Murphy. “Mr. Collins has an impressive record of executive leadership experience that will serve him well in his new role of overseeing the commonwealth’s high quality, efficient, and compliant medical marijuana program.”
Collins will be responsible for guiding the implementation of the state’s medical marijuana program, which is expected to be complete by early 2018.
“I am very proud to be chosen to lead such an important office,” said Collins. “My experience in a heavily regulated medical enterprise, market research and new product development, strategic planning, logistics, communications, and customer service is a perfect fit for the requirements of overseeing the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program. I am excited and eager to get to work on this medically-focused program that will help Pennsylvanians suffering from one of the 17 serious medical conditions outlined in Act 16.”
Collins recently joined the Department of Health in April and currently serves as a public health program assistant administrator in the Division of HIV Disease. He is a certified allied health professional and holds an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Lindenwood University and also completed leadership training at the Wharton School, Aresty Institute of Executive Education, University of Pennsylvania. Collins also has extensive executive experience in the private sector, most recently as chief operating officer for Triad Isotopes, Inc., in Orlando, Florida.
The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the Department of Health has:
- Released public surveys to aid in the development of temporary regulations for growers/processors and dispensaries/laboratories;
- Completed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines and Safe Harbor Letter application process;
- Developed the Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup and sent important information to physicians; and
- Released a Request for Information for Seed to Sale IT solutions for the tracking of medical marijuana.
Once fully implemented, Pennsylvania residents under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition, as allowed under Act 16, will be able to access medical marijuana in the commonwealth.
Questions about the medical marijuana program can be emailed to RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov. Information is also available on the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.gov.