By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Pennsylvania prepares for the implementation of medical marijuana in 2018, Health Department officials say more than 10,000 patients are already signed up.

It’s full steam ahead for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

“Patients are starting to receive their medical marijuana identification cards. We have approved nearly 250 physicians,” said Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine.

Levine says another 250 physicians are on the verge of being approved. The Health Department has also inspected and cleared more than a half-dozen growers.

“Our processors have a whole in-depth checklist of things that they are looking for in terms of the quality control mechanisms that they have,” said Levine.

Levine is excited about the program helping patients who really need medical marijuana.

“Children with seizures. Children with epilepsy,” she said.

She expects dispensaries to open in May 2018.