Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was signed on April 17, 2016, but until recently was just in the rule making and implementation phase. In the middle of last month Pennsylvania allowed the first grower/processor (Cresco Yeltrah) to start production. Pennsylvania reached another milestone this last week when it started accepting patient and caregiver applications from members of the public. The launch appears to have gone well, with a small army of hopeful patients and caregivers submitting applications. Per US News:
The Pennsylvania Department of Health says more than 1,000 people signed up for the state’s new medical marijuana program on its first day.
A health department spokesman tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the registrations include patients and caregivers.
The department announced Wednesday that it was accepting applications to participate in the system.
1,000 people is a strong showing for just one day. People that want to become patients have to be suffering from one or more qualifying conditions, as specified by the State. Currently Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program recognizes 17 qualifying conditions, which are:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
- Crohn’s Disease.
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity.
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
- Huntington’s Disease.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Intractable Seizures.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
- Parkinson’s Disease.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective.
- Sickle Cell Anemia.
Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program is limited compared to other states, but it’s certainly better than nothing. I will be curious to see where the program’s statistics are at a year from now. Pennsylvania does not allow patients to cultivate their own cannabis, so as of right now any patients that get approved will have to wait until Pennsylvania’s dispensaries start serving patients. In the meantime, at least there will be protections in place for patients that are caught with cannabis (however they obtained it).