Pennsylvania is the latest state to approve cannabis for medical use, with SB3 set to go into effect on the May 17th, 2016. Although the Pennsylvania Department of Health will only have temporary regulations for the first 6 months, prospective patients should start the process of applying for a medical cannabis recommendation as soon as they can.
To qualify for a recommendation, patients must :
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Demonstrate proof of residency in Pennsylvania.
- Patients must have been diagnosed by a certified physician as having one of the following 18 conditions for which medical cannabis can be recommended.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Intractable Spasticity
- Intractable Seizures
- Severe, Chronic or Intractable Pain
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Terminal Illness (Defined as any condition where life expectancy is less than 1 year)
Patients must obtain their medical records or equivalent legitimate documentation from their primary care physician. This documentation must be taken to the patients’ evaluation appointment.
Upon receiving a recommendation for medical cannabis, patients must register with the Department of Health in Pennsylvania, for a $50 fee.
What Are The Parameters Of Pennsylvania’s Medical Cannabis Law?
Pennsylvania’s lawmakers expect that it will take 18-24 months for their program to be implemented and active; authorizing 25 processing and growing licenses, as well as 50 dispensaries that may operate up to 3 locations each.
Pennsylvania’s SB3 approves each qualifying patient a 30 day supply of the following forms of medical cannabis :
- Topical Formulations (Gels, Creams, Ointments)
- Non-Plant Vaporizable Material
Please note, raw cannabis in its natural plant form is NOT approved under SB3 and smoking is NOT an approved delivery method for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania.
Please also note, due to cannabis’s Schedule 1 classification under the Controlled Substances Act, doctors CANNOT write prescriptions for cannabis, instead issuing recommendations for cannabis.
Patients ARE allowed to nominate caregivers should they not be able to procure their own medicine, though currently the protocol for assigning caregivers has not been made public.
Patients who have moved to Pennsylvania and already have a valid medical cannabis recommendation may use their out-of-state cards under the state’s reciprocity clause.
SB3 : “medical marijuana may only be dispensed to a patient or caregiver in the following forms: (i) pill; (ii) oil; (iii) topical forms, including gel, creams or ointments; (iv) a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, excluding dry leaf or plant form... (v) tincture; or (vi) liquid. Unless otherwise provided in regulations adopted by the department under section 1202, medical marijuana may not be dispensed to a patient or a caregiver in dry leaf or plant form.”