Pennsylvania officials will soon have to disclose how many of the state’s medical cannabis patients are certified under each of the state’s qualifying conditions, Spotlight PA reports. It would be the first time the state has revealed that information and is only doing so at the order of the Office of Open Records, which ruled this month in favor of Spotlight PA as the news organization seeks information on how many Pennsylvania medical cannabis patients are enrolled for opioid use disorder.
The state Department of Health refused to provide the information citing the state’s medical cannabis law protecting patient and caregiver information. However, the Open Records Office rejected the argument that releasing patient figures would violate confidentiality rules in the law.
Spotlight PA is seeking the information in their coverage of a story of a Bucks County man who was wrongly denied addiction treatment funding because he was enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program. The man died a few weeks after the denial due to a drug overdose.
While Spotlight PA’s appeal of the denial was pending, the Office of Open Records approved the request of another organization, CNHI, which was seeking information on how medical cannabis patients lived in each of the state’s counties. The data showed that more than 50,000 patients live in one of 29 rural counties without a dispensary.
Spotlight PA was provided numbers on how many medical cannabis patients were enrolled in New York and New Jersey for opioid use disorder. In New Jersey, more than 2,200 patients were enrolled for the condition as of July, according to a Cannabis Regulatory Commission spokesman; in New York, that figure is more than 2,100 through July.
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