April 12, 2018, Pennsylvania
Patient’s access to medical cannabis in Pennsylvania will improve in coming days as MMJ board of the state has passed the legislation to allow the sales of whole-plant of cannabis. Moreover, the board is contemplating on increasing the number of qualifying health conditions for the legal use of MMJ. These developments demonstrate that the state is moving in the right direction with its medical marijuana program.
As of now, the authorized dispensaries in the state only sell MMJ products in the form of oil, tinctures, extracts and pills. The new provision of MMJ legislation will allow patients to purchase medical marijuana in dried leaf and flower form. The provision will need a review of the Secretary of Health before the recommendation is presented to the governor for final endorsement.
According to legislative experts, materialization of legal sales of whole plant can take a year. Nonetheless, when all’s said and done MMJ patients in Pennsylvania will be able to administer their drug in its most basic form.
There is another tangent to the patient’s access to whole-plant of cannabis i.e. it is cheaper than most of the packaged MMJ products (oils, pills etc). This is the reason why majority of the patients in Colorado and California prefer flowers and dried leaves over packaged MMJ products. With access to whole-plant, patients can also make cannabis oil by themselves.
By making MMJ more affordable with the legalization of whole-plant sales, the medical cannabis program can reach its true essence of making patients’ life easier suffering from certain health conditions.
Nonetheless, the patients will only be allowed to vaporize the whole-plant MMJ. Smoking cannabis for therapeutic reasons will remain illegal in Pennsylvania. Patients even with MMJ cards can face legal repercussions if they are caught smoking weed in public spaces. Some experts think that it’s not the state’s prerogative to decide in which form people can consume a certain commodity.
Expansion of List of Qualifying Conditions
The board is also considering adding four new medical conditions to the list. These conditions include neurodegenerative diseases, spinal cord damage, terminal illnesses and opioid withdrawals. It is important to note that many states are allowing the use of medical cannabis to control the epidemic of opioid abuse. For instance, Connecticut has decided to add opioid withdrawal to the list of qualifying conditions for MMJ use.
The board also wants to provide a protection to the physicians who want to participate in the MMJ program from federal prosecution by changing the current registration process. Due to the fear of cancellation of their licenses, only 500 out of 53,000 physicians in Pennsylvania make recommendations of medical cannabis. However, this development might make it difficult for patients to find the physicians who write MMJ recommendations.
The progressive approach of Pennsylvania’s MMJ board has made it clear that they really want to streamline the state’s medical cannabis program for all the stakeholders. If all the above-discussed suggestions materialize, it will benefit patients, physicians and MMJ businesses alike.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]