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The Next Step In Setting Up PA’s Medical Marijuana Program: Licensing Physicians

When medical marijuana becomes legal in a state, there is a series of stipulations that must be met before the medical marijuana can begin serving patients. In Pennsylvania, which has newly voted to legalize use of the plant for medicinal purposes, businesses are starting to obtain the proper licensing to sell medical marijuana to the public. This is certainly an essential step in this process, but it is not the only one. The next step is to license physicians to prescribe it to their patients.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health states that there are currently no physicians who are permitted to hand out prescriptions for medical marijuana. The state is working on hammering out the regulations that will dictate who can prescribe it, and under what circumstances they can do so.

This delay will keep this medicine out of the hands of patients until 2018.

Several procedures are in place for doctors who wish to become a part of the state’s medical marijuana program:

  1. They must submit an application to the state health department.
  2. They must be able to demonstrate training and expertise to treat serious medical ailments.
  3. Fulfillment of a four-hour course is mandatory.
  4. Of course, they must possess a valid state medical license.

Once doctors are registered, the department will establish and work to maintain a digital database of physicians, says April Hutcheson of the state health department.

Additionally, regulations for patients and caregivers are being detailed at the same time. Patients with qualifying conditions cannot expect to be able to apply for a medical marijuana card until late 2017.

The seventeen qualifying conditions for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program are:

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Autism, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV/ AIDS, Huntington’s Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Intractable Seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuropathies, Parkinson’s Disease, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Sickle Cell Anemia. Also included are patients suffering from chronic or intractable pain, for which other methods of treatment have not been effective.

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