Pennsylvania loosens access to medical marijuana during COVID-19 emergency

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has temporarily suspended a number of provisions in the state’s medical marijuana program to allow patients to have more access to medications.

Until further notice, the department:

  • Allowed dispensaries to supply patients with 90 days worth of medicine up from 30days.
  • Waived in-person consultations and allowed remote consultations between practitioners and medical marijuana cardholders for certification renewals.
  • Eliminated background checks for caregiver application renewals.
  • Removed a cap the number of caregivers who could buy products for a patient.

“In the midst of COVID-19, we need to ensure medical marijuana patients have access to medication,” said state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine. “Medical marijuana grower/processors and dispensaries are considered life-sustaining businesses under the Governor’s order for nonlife-sustaining businesses to close. We want to be sure cardholders in the medical marijuana program can receive medication for one of 23 serious medical conditions during this difficult time.”

As a part of the temporary suspension, the department also said it would allow dispensary employees to provide medical marijuana to permitted medical marijuana cardholders from their vehicles.

Organic Remedies, a medical marijuana dispensary with locations in Chambersburg, Enola and York, is taking advantage of the suspension and offering curbside delivery at all of its dispensaries.

Eric Hauser, president of Organic Remedies, said in a press release that the state’s decision will greatly reduce exposure to potential disease spread.

“Our curbside delivery service will allow us to provide the crucial medications our patients need, while also increasing the level of social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for both our patients and employees,” he said.

Ioannis Pashakis
Ioannis Pashakis covers health care, the gig economy, cannabis and technology. Email him at ipashakis@bridgetowermedia.com.

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