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What's Next In Philly's Drive For Medical Marijuana Program?

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The Pennsylvania Department of Health is turning to the next phase of its medical marijuana rollout campaign now that the deadline for permit applications has passed.

Applications postmarked March 20 are still rolling in -- and Pa. Health Department spokeswoman April Hutcheson says that's a good sign.

"We are excited about the amount of enthusiasm for the program," she said. "From residents to patients and physicians and the industry."

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Once all the applications are in, health officials will need about 90 days to set up the review and rating process and begin to issue permits. Hutcheson says now is the time for patients who may qualify for medical marijuana to contact their doctors.

"About whether or not they're going to be participating in the program and what their thoughts are, if this is a medication that will work for you," she said. "It's important to start that conversation now so that when you are able to purchase medical medication you don't have a delay at that time period."

In Philadelphia, the Department of Licenses and Inspections has handed more than half-a-dozen zoning permits to would-be medical marijuana operators.

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