Pennsylvania launches practitioner registration!
Last update: July 31, 2017
On July 26, Acting Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced important steps forward for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program — practitioners can now register online, and the department approved two options for physician training.
Under Act 16, a doctor can only issue a certification for medical marijuana after registering with the Department of Health. The law also requires the physician to complete a four-hour training course. The department has approved the first two providers of training courses, The Answer Page Inc. and Extra Step Assurance LLC.
For medical marijuana programs to work, doctors need to participate. Talk to your doctor, and take a copy of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Law: A Guide for Doctors and Patients with you for the conversation. Other materials are also available on MPP’s medical marijuana page.
It is unclear at this time when the department will begin accepting applications and issuing identification cards for patients and caregivers. Earlier in the summer, the department announced the first round of business permits, including 12 grower/processor permits and 27 dispensary permits, which may each have up to three locations. It will take some time for the businesses to open and begin dispensing cannabis, but registered patients may have access as soon as early 2018.
Medical marijuana resources
MPP has developed a number of fact sheets for Pennsylvania patients, caregivers, doctors, and employers. Please print and share these materials with others, including your physician.
- Summary of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act
- Visiting Patients and Medical Marijuana Laws
- Guide for Employers and Employees
- Guide for Doctors and Patients
- Research and Evidence on Qualifying Conditions
- How to Talk to Your Doctor About Medical Marijuana
You can also learn more on MPP’s medical marijuana page.
On May 17, 2016, Rep. Ed Gainey, one of the lead sponsors of medical marijuana legislation in Pennsylvania, introduced HB 2706, a bill that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana. Currently, an individual arrested for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana can still be sentenced to a maximum of 30 days in jail and fined up to $500. Rep. Gainey’s bill would reduce the penalty to a fine not to exceed $100.
This long-overdue change would dramatically reduce the number of Pennsylvanians who have their dreams derailed by a criminal record. A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, enforcement is far from equal: blacks in Pennsylvania are 5.2 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Localities in Pennsylvania are leading the charge for more sensible marijuana policies. Since October 2014, the local governments in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and the State College Borough have each approved measures to reduce the penalty for personal use possession of marijuana to a simple fine. Our friends at the Keystone Cannabis Coalition have played a leading role in these reforms.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Pennsylvania, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service now.
If you are a medical professional or a patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, or if you know somebody who might benefit from medical marijuana and you want to get involved, contact us at [email protected]. Please include your zip code so we can determine who your lawmakers are.
Additionally, if you are a doctor, veteran, law enforcement official, a person who was arrested for marijuana possession, or an attorney, please email [email protected] to learn how you can be of special help.