PA Medical Marijuana: revisited
Gov. Tom Wolf signed the Compassionate Cannabis Law of Pennsylvania a.k.a PA Medical Marijuana in Law SB 3 on 17 April 2016. The legislation came into force on 17 May 2016 and in April 2018, the first dispensaries began to serve patients.
The Scientific Marijuana Act (SB 3) is summarized below:
Qualified Medical Conditions:
Patients can qualify for medical cannabis if they have a terminal illness or if they suffer from cancer, including remission therapy; HIV/AIDS; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis; epilepsy; inflammatory bowel disease; neuropathies; Huntington’s disease; Crohn’s disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; intractable seizures; glaucoma; autism; sickle cell anemia; damage to the nervous tissue of the CNS with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity and other associated neuropathies; severe, chronic, or intractable pain; dyskinetic and spastic movement disorder; or addiction substitute therapy — opioid reduction.
The above list reflects some additions made by the Health Department in May 2018, including addiction substitute therapy and removing limitations on when intractable pain qualifies.
Certification of doctors
A patient must be under the continuous supervision of an officer who certifies during an individual visit to apply for the system. It must be confirmed that the patient is medically competent and that the doctor agrees that he or she can benefit from medical cannabis. Doctors will enroll, complete a four-hour class and report to the department if, due to better health or death, a patient no longer has access to medicinal cannabis.
The law formed an expert panel for the administration to make suggestions. In a study that provided recommendations on access to a dry leaf or plant marijuana, the Board was expected to issue two years after the law took effect. The Board recommended several policy changes, including allowing dry-leaf cannabis, and agreed to the recommendations and updated guidelines by the ministry of health.
Tablets, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, liquids, and non-whole plant formulations for vaporization were originally only available for medicinal cannabis. Usage limitations: In May 2018 the Health Department released updated rules to require whole plant, floral cannabis, in compliance with guidelines of the Advisory Board. Pot shops can not sell foods but medical marijuana can be mixed into foods or drinks to make it easier for a patient to take in a center or home. Smoking is prohibited and vaporization is allowed.
Federal medical assistance and private health providers are not expected to cover any costs connected with the use of medical cannabis or any expenditures related to the use of medical cannabis by an employer.
Cultivators and producers
25 combined producers and processors licenses can be issued by the department. Twelve licenses were released for grower/processors in the first round of licensing. Seed-to-sale tracking, comprehensive preservation and record-keeping, control systems, and other safeguard measures are to be used by growers/processors.
The Board was ordered to grant licenses for a maximum of 50 dispensaries with 3 sites for up to 150 total dispensaries per location. Dispensaries: The department issued 27 permits to dispensaries during the first round of the granting permits. In April 2018, patients were served first by dispensaries.
A licensed patient or health care provider is safeguarded in child custody against arrest, indictment, and prejudice. Companies do not tolerate on-site use by workers. Legal safeguards shall not take effect until a medical cannabis verification card has been issued to the patient other than safe havens for minors.
Taxation and dues
Claimants pay $5,000 for each pharmacy and $10,000 for other requests of the producer/processor. Registration costs of $30.000 for each dispensary and $200.000 for growers and transformers are charged by medicinal cannabis companies approved. A 5% tax on the selling of medicinal cannabis is also charged by the grower/developer to the dispensary. Originally, patients are paid $50 for a financial distress identification card. The Advisory Board could adjust all fees.
Pharmacy sections will expire 3 years after completion of marijuana rescheduling by the federal government.