In a continued commitment to transparency throughout the development and implementation of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy today provided an update on accomplishments, gave a preview of pending activities, and highlighted the need for physician participation.
“The department is being very thoughtful and thorough in our approach to developing and implementing a medically-focused program that will benefit patients with serious medical conditions,” said Secretary Murphy. “We have started working closely with physician groups to disseminate important information, and have formed a physician workgroup to ensure continued communication and feedback on the program and its implementation. Physicians and their medical expertise are crucial to the success of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, and we will continue to engage them throughout the process to ensure their medical expertise is heard on behalf of patients.”
The first Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup will be convened within the next few weeks. Participants will include:
- Allegheny Health Network
- Geisinger Health System
- Penn State Health
- Port Allegany Health Center
- Temple University Health Systems
- The Lehigh Valley Health Network
- Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
- University of Pennsylvania – Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
- The Commonwealth Medical College
- Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians
- Pennsylvania Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics
- Pennsylvania Medical Society
The department will also soon release a survey asking for feedback to help in the development of temporary regulations pertaining physicians. The public and physicians will be alerted when this survey is available on the department’s website.
The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the Department of Health has:
- Released public surveys to aid in the development of temporary regulations for growers/processors and dispensaries/laboratories;
- Completed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines and Safe Harbor Letter application process;
- Developed the Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup and sent important information to physicians; and
- Released a Request for Information for Seed to Sale IT solutions for the tracking of medical marijuana.
The department expects to have the temporary regulations for growers and processors completed and published by the end of August. The remainder of the temporary regulations will be released sequentially for dispensaries/laboratories, physicians, patients, and caregivers. The temporary regulations will be in place for two years from the date they are published.
The program is expected to be implemented by early 2018 and, when completed, will offer medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by Act 16.