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Pennsylvania

Pa. opens medical marijuana patient, caregiver registration

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Wednesday was an important day for medical marijuana advocates in Pennsylvania, as the patient/caregiver registry opened on the state's website.

"This has been a work in progress that has been going on for years," said Lolly Bentch, who works as a patient liaison in the state's medical marijuana office.

She has seen those who are struggling with the 17 qualifying conditions, including AIDS, autism, cancer and PTSD, and how much relief they hope medical marijuana will bring.

"I think the highlight of my work is getting to spend time with the patients and caregivers that are in need of this program," Bentch shared.

The state health department has also created a list of more than 100 approved physicians who can prescribe medical marijuana.

"Anybody whose interested in possibly using cannabis should think about it seriously now and go register and speak to your doctor if you haven't already," said advocate Adrienne Leasa.

Constance Morrison, the president of the Berks Visiting Nurses Association, said she is concerned when it comes to the "prescribing doctor" issue.

"The problem that we worry about really is the medications that you currently take are in a registry that we monitor to see that there's no drug interactions, and we don't know a whole lot about how medication like marijuana is going to react with that."

Morrison recommends that patients and their caregivers consider making a change.

"Go to your physician and say that you are going to change doctors to a physician that is licensed to prescribe marijuana," Morrison said.

After registering, patients must wait for the state to approve their application before they can receive medical marijuana.

Patients and caregivers in Pennsylvania can begin the registration process now on the state's medical marijuana website.


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