Pennsylvania’s journey with medical marijuana began on April 6, 2016, when Governor Wolf legalized it. This significant move paved the way for medical marijuana to become available to patients in dispensaries across the commonwealth from February 15, 2018. This introduction of medical marijuana has provided crucial medical relief to patients with serious medical conditions.
On March 4, 2023, the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program’s final-form regulations, as issued by the Department of Health (DOH), were published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. This was a critical development, especially following the Commonwealth Court’s order temporarily enjoining DOH from enforcing certain provisions of these regulations.
The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program was established by the Medical Marijuana Act, signed into law on April 17, 2016. This program is mandated to maintain electronic data, including patient and practitioner registries and electronic tracking.
Marijuana is a mind-altering psychoactive drug, made from the dry, shredded mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the cannabis sativa plant. The main psychoactive component in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is known for its addictive potential.
In Philadelphia, marijuana possession laws are specific: possessing 30 grams or less will result in the seizure of the substance and a potential fine of up to $100. Moreover, arrest is a possibility under certain conditions. Philadelphia also offers marijuana treatment options, accessible by calling 1-888-545-2600 or visiting the official website.
At the federal level, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 [P.L. 117-328] has implications for medical marijuana. This appropriations rider prohibits the DOJ from taking legal action against states to prevent them from enforcing medical marijuana laws. However, it’s important to note that commercial distribution of marijuana is not legal in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania, which affects the southeastern states, many of which have not legalized medical marijuana.
For dispensaries, the Pennsylvania Department of Health limits permits to no more than 50, with each dispensary allowed up to three locations. The application process is stringent, requiring various information submissions for permit approval.
Marijuana can be consumed in several ways, including smoking (joints, blunts, or bongs) and edibles (foods like cookies, cakes, brownies, and drinks). It’s important to understand the nature of marijuana: it is a cannabis plant with over 100 compounds, including THC, which is impairing, and CBD, which is not.
To learn more about Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program, visit the PA Government website, the Pennsylvania Department of Health Regulations page, or the Medical Marijuana Program page.