Pennsylvania

Pa. medical marijuana program expands to include dry leaf

Expected to be available this summer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Patients registered in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program will soon be able to consume it in dry leaf or flower form, and more medical conditions will qualify for treatment by the drug.

Dr. Rachel Levine, the state's health secretary, announced Monday that she's accepting the recommendations of an advisory panel and adopting those changes.

"I have carefully reviewed the medical evidence related to the medical marijuana advisory board recommendations and listened to patient input on the impact the program is having on them, including access to medication and cost," Levine said.

The health secretary said she expects producers to make the dry leaf form of marijuana available sometime this summer.

"Allowing dry leaf for vaporization will shorten the time it takes to get medication to dispensaries, expand options for the growing number of patients, and hopefully make the program less cost-prohibitive for some patients," said Gov. Tom Wolf.

State law prevents dispensaries from selling marijuana that's designed to be smoked, but cannabis consumer advocate Chris Goldstein said patients who buy the dry leaf product can smoke it instead of vaporize it.

Levine is also adopting a recommendation that children who need the drug be certified by a pediatrician, but she said that change may take time to implement.


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