A bipartisan bill proposed in Pennsylvania would allow physicians to certify patients for the state’s medical cannabis program for any condition if they believe the patient could benefit from cannabis therapy, according to a Capitol Wire report. The measure would effectively strip the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board of one of its main tasks.
In a cosponsor memo, Sens. Mike Regan, (R) and James Brewster (D) said that “elected officials and bureaucratic staffers should not be deciding what ailment qualifies an individual to use medical marijuana.”
“Cost is already a hindrance that pushes medical patients to the illicit market, which exposes them to a dangerous product that can be laced with substances such as fentanyl or toxins that can cause further health problems.” — Regan and Brewster in the memo via Capitol Wire
The legislation would also eliminate the annual renewal fee paid by medical cannabis patients. As of November, there were 423,443 active patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program, while fewer than 2,000 physicians in the state have become approved by the Health Department to issue patients certifications.
The proposal is similar to Oklahoma’s medical cannabis rules and, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, almost 10% of that state’s population are registered medical cannabis patients. If that percentage were repeated in Pennsylvania, there would be about 1.2 million medical cannabis patients.
In the memo, Regan indicated he plans to continue “a conversation on building a responsible adult-use marketplace” but said boosting the medical cannabis program in the meantime makes sense as the state seeks to limit the number of people who cross state lines to buy cannabis legally.
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