Pennsylvania is one of the 33 states in the U.S. that has legalized marijuana for medical use. The program, which is relatively new, has already more than 52,000 patients registered and about 100,000 patients are eligible to register on the state’s program. The program also counts with more than 1,000 registered physicians who are prepared to recommend medical cannabis to their patients.
The progress of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program could be rapidly seen by awaiting patients since within a year the state already started receiving applications for the state’s marijuana program and in less than two it started selling cannabis to its patients.
Medical Marijuana Law in Pennsylvania
On April 17, 2016, Governor Tom Wolf passed Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, a law that legalizes medical marijuana and protects patients and healthcare providers from suffering any civil or criminal penalty for consuming and recommending marijuana.
“I am proud to sign this bill that will provide long overdue medical relief to patients and families who could benefit from this treatment. I applaud members of both parties in the House and Senate who have come together to help patients who have run out of medical options and want to thank the thousands of advocates who have fought tirelessly for this cause,” said Wolf after passing medical cannabis into law.
The program started receiving applications in late 2017, and the first marijuana dispensaries opened in February 2018. So it is now easy to find local doctor online for marijuana card.
Two years after legalization, Governor Wolf announced that the state’s medical marijuana program would expand, due to recommendations of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. Since April 2018, patients are allowed to purchase medical cannabis in the forms of dry leaf and dry flower, which wasn’t permitted before that.
However, you are still not allowed to smoke marijuana in Pennsylvania. So, anyone who opts for the dry leaf or flower forms should use it in vaporizers.
The program also added four more conditions on the list of qualifying medical conditions. The conditions added to the program were neurogenerative Diseases, patients with a terminal illness in which their lives expectancy is of one year or less, Dyskinetic and Spastic Movement Disorders, and addiction substitute therapy, in order to reduce opioid use.
Impacts of medical marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania
The impact of legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania can be seen reflected in the lives of thousands of patients suffering from medical debilitating conditions who are finally able to access alternative, safe methods to live a better life.
Shannon is an example of that. He suffers from chronic pain caused by herniated discs and fibromyalgia. “Traditional medicines helped to some degree, but the opioids, Xanax and other benzos I was taking had only limited effect and were highly addictive.”
Shannon left his job to become a stay-at-home dad. He said the medications he used to take made it harder for him to look after his children, who are 6 and 2 years old. “For years, we watched a lot of TV,” he said. “Now my oldest son recognizes the difference. Cannabis gives me a boost and focus. I’m more active and can play face-to-face with my kids on the floor.”
Governor Tom Wolf, who is a fierce protector of the state’s medical marijuana laws, took the initiative to incentive research on cannabis, even though by doing so he would be defying federal laws.
Early 2018, Pennsylvania officials created a program that allowed medical schools to involve marijuana studies. Eight applicants have received a license allowing them to study cannabis effects on treating certain medical conditions.
“Today, medical research is so limited by the federal government that only a few doctors can even have access to medical marijuana. Pennsylvania’s premiere medical schools will be able to help shape the future of treatment for patients who are in desperate need not just here, but across the country,” said Gov. Wolf in a statement.
Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s cour issued an injunction for preventing Wolf’s research program from continuing.
Despite the efforts of Governor Wolf into developing a good medical marijuana program for Pennsylvania’s patients, the Gov. doesn’t believe that Pennsylvania is ready to legalize recreational marijuana.
“The governor does not support recreational legalization but as with any policy issue, he is always willing to engage in discussions with stakeholders, including law enforcement, legislators, and public health officials,” said Wolf’s spokesman J.J. Abbott.
“Governor Wolf’s focus continues to be maximizing the impact, benefits, and accessibility of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program for all patients.”
The forecast says the marijuana market in Pennsylvania will sell up to $149 million next year. However, some experts believe that Pennsylvania has a lot to lose if New Jersey legalizes recreational marijuana.
It’s certainty that if not this year, in 2019 New Jersey will legalize pot for recreational use. And the expectation is that 10% of the profits will come from Pennsylvanians.
The state’s program that initially suffered from a supply shortage may notice withdrawal from its registered patients when New Jersey legalizes marijuana.
Even with the economic pressure, it doesn’t seem that Gov. Wolf is willing to legalize recreational marijuana, even though most of his party are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Pennsylvania.
As of now, let’s expect that Governor Tom Wolf continue doing his best for providing Pennsylvanians a good medical marijuana program.
Impacts of medical marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania
New York State medical marijuana program. On a rainy night in September, hundreds of people packed into the Kumble Theater at Long Island University Brooklyn to talk about pot. The event was one of 15 listening sessions Gov. Andrew Cuomo set up around the state for input to draft legislation that would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. Each attendee had two minutes to speak, and many spoke passionately about the medical benefits of the drug.…