Pennsylvania gears up for medical marijuana sale from 2018

06-13-2017 Posted in Addiction, Marijuana, Substance Abuse

With the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania in April 2016, the state is in the process of providing permits for the cannabis sale in 2018. From January 2017, the permit applications were available online following a state announcement regarding it in December 2016. The state has been accepting applications from medical marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries.

The decision allows the drug to be sold in the form of pills, ointment, vapor, liquid and oil. The health department of Pennsylvania has also conveyed a physicians’ working group to recommend clearer guidelines for doctors, training on marijuana dosage, and flexibility in rules pertaining to medical marijuana usage in different areas of the state. As of now, the program organizers have targeted mid-2018 to begin legal sales of cannabis in the region. The health department “is on track to issue permits by the end of June,” as per press secretary April Hutcheson.

Though the department provides protection to parents and caregivers of minor patients, the state is yet to take action to provide adults with interim protection. As the program goes into effect, the state has prescribed several guidelines for both doctors and patients to prescribe and use marijuana for medical purposes. John Collins, head of the Office of Medical Marijuana, said though a safe harbor has been provided, the state has not been able to determine the source and the means by which the parents and caregivers obtain the drugs. Collins also said that thousands of Pennsylvanians have been asked about the need for the drug and the two reasons that made it to the top were pain and PTSD. The state has also approved 134 safe harbor patient applications.

According to Murphy, the goal of the program is to provide medication to people who desperately need it. The first phase of the program aimed at licensing up to 12 growers and up to 27 permits for dispensaries. As each individual dispenser would be allowed up to three locations, the total number of dispensaries for medical marijuana will go up to 81 across the state. She also said that one cannot undermine the role of physicians in making medical marijuana accessible to patients.

As per Murphy, while it is a regulatory process, one has to keep in mind that it is a medically focused program. The state law authorizes up to 50 collectives and given that each collective can open up to three locations, the total number could reach up to 150 collectives.

Usage of medical marijuana: Conditions

Pennsylvania was the 24th state with a comprehensive medical marijuana program. Patients who qualify to use medical marijuana include those suffering from terminal illnesses, like Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and epilepsy, among others. Since its legalization, the health department has granted a safe harbor status to parents and caregivers of children suffering from conditions that allows them to purchase medical marijuana products from outside the state.

In order to qualify for medical marijuana usage, the patients would require a proper prescription for a devastating condition from a licensed doctor. In addition, before recommending medical marijuana to patients, the doctors must participate in a four-hour course developed by the Department of Health. At present, the state recognizes 17 conditions including cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use. In addition to the existing list of medical conditions, the department of public health can also approve additional devastating medical conditions.

Consequences of pot misuse

Despite the benefits for patients, marijuana remains one of the most addictive substances that is prone to misuse and abuse. If you know someone addicted to substances like marijuana, it is time to seek professional treatment. At the 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline, we can help you find a comprehensive solution to your drug addiction problem. Call at our 24/7 helpline 866-403-5607 or chat online with our experts to know about the top inpatient drug abuse treatment centers as well as outpatient drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S.