Last year Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf made the final step in approving a medical marijuana program for the state. Though it was an uphill battle to get the idea considered, Pennsylvanian patients are excited to join what is now 29 states that have legalized cannabis for growing, processing, and distributing for medicinal purposes. The program has a total of 18 qualifying conditions that would allow a patient access.
The qualifying conditions include:
- Terminal Illness
- Intractable Seizures
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Severe Chronic Pain
AGRiMED will be supplying Pennsylvania with the highest quality cannabis products.
Only certain forms of medical marijuana products are allowed; edibles and flowers for smoking are not included. The program will also allow minors to be obtain prescriptions. However, the Department of Education does not permit them to take their medicine to school with them. Instead, their parent or caretaker may administer it on school grounds and the school is responsible for providing a secure and private location for them. Qualifying patients will have to wait until 2018 to get their medical cards, though several companies looking to cultivate and process cannabis have already been licensed. Dispensaries are also being set up according to a predetermined plan for the number of licensed dispensaries per county.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Health recently announced that they have officially launched an online registration system that will allow interested physicians to take the steps to start to prescribe their patients cannabis. Over 100 physicians have taken the first step to becoming licensed cannabis doctors just days after the registry was launched. The Department of Health will be instructing a mandatory four-hour training course for those registered physicians regarding the latest scientific research on medical marijuana, including the risks and benefits of using medical marijuana and other information deemed necessary by the department. They must also be able to present a valid and unchallenged medical license in order to complete the process.
Since the program is still in its beginning stages, having over 100 physicians immediately interested in participating is a good sign for the state. As more doctors sign up to be eligible for recommending patients for cannabis and writing prescriptions, more Pennsylvanians will have access to medicinal products from innovative companies like AGRiMED. Pro-cannabis physicians are not as hidden anymore. With the emergence of scientific evidence of how the plant benefits humans, an increasingly large number of doctors are willing to recommend cannabis use to their patients. “The program is sufficiently well-designed that physicians should feel safe referring patients into the program,” said Dr. Charles Pollack, director of The Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University. “There’s going to be a lot of patient demand for this. Physicians are going to feel strongly encouraged by patients to participate in the program.” Cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug according to the federal government, so there are still many who are hesitant to take the leap by giving cannabis a co-sign. Patients in states with more established programs have been key in bringing in more recognition of the benefits after detailing their personal experiences, unlike any other previous treatment. Those on board for the program are hopeful that PA physicians will continue to pour in, setting the stage for an effective start in 2018.