Dry leaf medical marijuana approved, new conditions added

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Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced she is implementing all recommendations made by the Medical Marijuana Board last week. 

Dry leaf will be sold in Pennsylvania and should be available at dispensaries later this summer. The change is expected to offer a more affordable form of the medicine.

“Dry leaf requires less preparation by the grower/processor, so we are hoping that will help in terms of keeping cost affordable,” Levine said.

The dry leaf can only be vaporized. Act 16 prohibits smoking medical marijuana.

“We expect like with any medication that a doctor would prescribe and a pharmacist would dispense that patients will use it as is instructed,” Levine said.

Additional medical conditions that now qualify for treatment by the drug include addiction recovery therapy, cancer remission, and spastic movement disorders such as Tourette syndrome.

Patients will only pay an annual fee for a medical marijuana card.

Pediatric patients will have to be certified by a pediatrician or a pediatric specialist. This change will be delayed one year to allow more pediatricians and specialist to register with the program

Doctors can choose to opt out of the public-facing list of practitioners, meaning only registered medical marijuana patients could see their names.

The new changes will be enacted after regulations are written.

“I do feel this is the right thing to do,” Levine said. “It is very important to offer this alternative to patients.”

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