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Medical Marijuana Patient, Doctor Registries Open As Program Eyes 2018 Launch

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Quote Originally Posted by Ron Strider View Post
Pennsylvania launched medical marijuana registries for patients and doctors on Wednesday with more than 100 physicians approved to oversee use of the drug.

Acting Health Secretary Rachel Levine said another 200 doctors are going through the process, which requires four hours of training on medical cannabis and how it's administered.

In the coming months, she and other state officials plan to meet with physicians groups to encourage more to come on board. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there are about 39,000 physicians statewide, as well as 8,000 residents in training.

"Our main message is that this is for the patients," Levine said, following a gathering of patients in the Capitol Rotunda. "This is one more tool in our medical toolbox to treat patients."

The extra training is a commitment for busy doctors, she said, but one that is worthwhile--particularly for patients suffering from the 17 conditions that may be treated with the program.

Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration, a category that includes other illicit drugs like heroin. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has signaled a possible crackdown on marijuana, although no specific actions have been taken against state programs so far.

Prospective patients and caregivers may now use the Department of Health website to register for the program and to see a list of doctors who are currently approved to certify patients to use the drug.

The state has also approved 324 adult caregivers to obtain medicine from out of state for sick children through the Safe Harbor program.

One of those caregivers, Diana Briggs, said that her son Ryan has seen the number of seizures he experiences each day drop from 400 to less than a hundred since he began taking the medicine.

"All of our hopes and dreams came true with this wonderful plant," she said.

Briggs made the trip from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg dozens of times as an advocate for medical marijuana. The law that created the program was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last year.

To date, the department approved production of the drug at two grow facilities, one operated by Cresco Yeltrah in Jefferson County and another in Luzerne County run by Standard Farms.

Levine said the department is on track to begin delivering Pennsylvania-grown medicine to patients by next May.

She urged prospective patients to ask their doctors about medical marijuana and to find out if they have applied to the registry. They should also ensure they have state-issued identification that shows their current address and identify caregivers if they need assistance in picking up the medicine.

So far, about half of the permits for dispensaries and grow facilities have been awarded. Department officials said they do not have a timeline for the remaining permits.

John Collins, who heads the program, said the state needs to know where patients are before they can award the rest of them. Opening the registry is an important step toward answering that question, he said.

Levine declined to comment about whether the panel that scored the applications would be reused for the second wave. She also cited the advice of legal counsel in declining to comment on the department's ongoing efforts to block the names of those who scored applications from being released.



News Moderator: Ron Strider 420 MAGAZINE
Full Article: Medical marijuana patient, doctor registries open as program eyes 2018 launch | PennLive.com
Author: Wallace McKelvey
Contact: Contact Page - The PA Media Group
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Website: Central PA Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather - PennLive.com
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