Pa. adds leaf option to medical marijuana program

by KATE SHUNNEY

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has said the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and Department of Health have made steps to enhance the state’s medical marijuana program.

“The final report of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board continues to put patients first and will improve the program to give greater access to patients by breaking down financial and administrative barriers,” Gov. Wolfe said in a statement last week.

“Allowing dry leaf for vaporization will shorten the time it takes to get medication to dispensaries, expand options for the growing number of patients, and hopefully make the program less cost-prohibitive for some patients.”

Adding that form of medical marijuana to the accepted forms of medication was one of several steps the advisory board took during regular advisory meetings. The board also expanded the number of conditions that would qualify a patient for medical marijuana and decided to allow physicians to opt-out of a public registry that shows which doctors are licensed to authorize medical marijuana.

According to the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board report of April 9 this year, 511 physicians have registered and been approved to authorize medical marijuana for patients who qualify under state law. There are 2,495 caregivers and 28,508 patients registered for the medical marijuana program, as of April 6, 2018, the board report says. As of that same date, 10,002 medical marijuana ID cards have been issued to patients under the program.

Across Pennsylvania, permits have been issued to 12 growers/processors, 27 primary dispensaries, 15 secondary dispensaries and 10 third-tier dispensaries. Already, there are 14 dispensaries where patients can buy medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, created by Act 16 of 2016, is made up of medical professionals, regulators, and patient advocates, and is charged with making recommendations to the Health Secretary regarding the Medical Marijuana Program.

Program registration, along with more information, is available at www.medicalmarijuana.pa.gov.

 

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