Life as a Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Patient

Life as a Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Patient

The the next few months, many new patients will begin a new lifestyle as Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program will be finally operational this year. The program will cover serious medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, assorted neurological and gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain, sickle cell disease and autism. More people treating their conditions with cannabis-based products will not mean more people searching only for the euphoric effects of Tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), but the healing properties of the plant which are mostly Cannabidiol (CBD). Since cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug prohibited by the federal government, many may be wondering about daily restrictions that can cause for a patient in a medical marijuana program.

Obtaining Medical Cannabis

For a patient prescribed medical cannabis products by a registered physician, they must visit the Patient and Caregivers Registry and pay for a medical marijuana ID card. Then they are allowed to obtain products or send a caregiver to one of the 52 approved dispensaries expected to be running this year.  

For Pennsylvania residents with no local dispensaries currently operational, parents or caregivers in Pennsylvania can request “Safe Harbor” letter from the state Department of Health.

That letter permits them to obtain medical marijuana outside the state and legally possess it in Pennsylvania to administer to their child under the age of 18 who has one of 17 certified medical conditions.

Employment and Workplace

Though confusion still exists, there are a number of guidelines and practices that companies can follow to ensure they do not create any unnecessary discrimination disputes.

In fields like construction, firms must pay close attention to the parties and language contained in their contracts to determine if the project involves the federal government or its agencies and, thereby, is regulated accordingly.

The actual tasks performed by an employee in question should also be evaluated. For instance, an administrative assistant working a desk job taking medical cannabis is different than a heavy machine operator. If the duties performed by the employee might be significantly impacted by drug use and create safety issues, an additional clearance from a medical professional is advised and required in some cases.

Schools and Educational Institutions

The PA Department of Health provides guidance to school administrators to assist them in developing policies for the administration of medical marijuana on school property.

A parent, legal guardian or caregiver may administer medical marijuana to their child/student on school premises after sending a copy of the Safe Harbor Letter and notifying the school principal, in advance, of each instance in which the parent or caregiver will administer the medicine to the child/student.

Students themselves are not permitted to possess any form of medical marijuana on school property. A parent, legal guardian or caregiver has to bring and administer the medical marijuana to their child/student at the school’s private designated location and shall promptly remove any excess medical marijuana and related materials from the school premises after the administration of medical marijuana is complete. The recommended guidance will remain in effect until the Pennsylvania Department of Education promulgates regulations regarding the possession and use of medical marijuana in the commonwealth’s schools.