Pennsylvania's medical marijuana dispensaries considered 'life-sustaining' businesses
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The state Department of Health has announced temporary changes to the medical marijuana program during the coronavirus outbreak.
“In the midst of COVID-19, we need to ensure medical marijuana patients have access to medication,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a news release. “Medical marijuana grower/processors and dispensaries are considered life-sustaining businesses under the governor’s order for non-life-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 of Friday, certain statutory and regulatory provisions have been temporarily suspended in order to implement the following changes in response to the COVID-19 emergency:
- Allowing dispensary employees to provide medical marijuana to a cardholder in their vehicle on the facility’s property;
- Remove the current cap that limits the number of patients assigned to one caregiver, to allow for more caregivers to patients in need;
- Eliminate background checks for caregiver applications, limited to renewal applications only, in order to expedite the caregiver renewal process;
- Waive in-person consultations and allow for remote consultations between approved practitioners and medical marijuana cardholders for renewal certifications only; and
- Waive limits that allow for medical marijuana to only be dispensed for 30 days by requiring approved practitioners to note on the patient’s certification to dispense a 90-day supply.
The statutory and regulatory suspensions will remain in place for as long as the state's emergency declaration is in effect.
— Ron Musselman can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter at @ronmusselman8.