PA drafts regulations for docs who want to recommend medical cannabis

The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued draft regulations Tuesday about how doctors become registered to prescribe medical marijuana and how to certify patients for the state program, the Allentown Morning Call has reported.

State officials hope to have medical marijuana available to qualifying patients in Pennsylvania by mid-2018.  The Health Department recently accepted applications from entities hoping to win a limited number of dispensary and grower/processor permits, but the department has not revealed how many applications it received, from whom, or where the proposed locations would be.

“The process for a patient to obtain medical marijuana will begin with the physician, so it’s vital to ensure that our regulatory process for those physicians is open and transparent,” said Dr. Karen Murphy, state health secretary, in a statement. “Our focus remains to implement a patient-focused medical marijuana program that gives help to those who need it, and these temporary regulations mark an important step forward in achieving that goal.”

The law, passed in April 2016, will allow the use of medical marijuana for 17 serious health conditions. But is only to be dispensed in the form of capsules, creams, liquids or oils to be vaporized. Smokable leaf cannabis will not be allowed to be offered in dispensaries.

The state’s temporary regulations would require doctors who want to be able to recommend marijuana to patients to undergo a training class and be listed on a state registry. They are also forbidden from advertising their ability to recommend medical marijuana.

The Department of Health is seeking comments from physicians, health professionals and the public on the regulations, which appear below and can be downloaded here.

In an amusing coincidence,  the state has asked for doctor feedback before April 20 aka 4/20.


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