By Jonathan Gilinski
On April 17, 2016, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed “The Medical Marijuana Act” (Senate Bill 3) into law, confirming that Pennsylvania is officially the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.
By Pennsylvania participating in the medical marijuana movement, more than half of all Americans will now live in a medical marijuana state.
While the SB 3 will take action on May 17, its implementation will not occur until the department of health administers brief regulations for six months. The Pennsylvania health department will authorize 25 processors/growers, along with 50 dispensaries (which may have up to 3 locations each).
Under the new program, patients who suffer from a qualifying condition and whose doctors recommend medical cannabis will be able to register with the state to use and safely access medical cannabis. Those conditions include:
- Myotrophic lateral sclerosis;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Multiple sclerosis;
- Inflammatory bowel disease;
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity;
- Huntington’s disease;
- Crohn’s disease;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder;
- Intractable seizures; glaucoma;
- Sickle cell anemia;
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective; and,
The Medical Marijuana Act also has rules for the forms in which medical pot may be dispensed to patients and caregivers. It would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in forms of a capsule, oil, topical cream/ointment, vaporization, nebulization, tincture or liquid, and it makes smoking and infusing cannabis into an edible form, absolutely unlawful. The Act also serves as automatic assistance for academic clinical research of medical marijuana, which is a monumental step forward!
Although such a terrific event should be severely cheered by cannabis activists, many appear disenchanted with the bill, as they claim the legislation doesn’t go far enough. This is because, even in the best-case scenario, it will still take some time before sick people get relief from medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, as they are unable to grow marijuana plants in their homes.
In addition to this, although people who are entitled to medical marijuana wait for the state to get the system going, they can still face charges for its possession. Lastly, vaporization isn’t permitted in all cases; it will only be allowed for patients with cancer, PTSD and seizure disorders; those patients must seek a physician’s approval for vaporization and only use devices approved by the “yet-to-be-formed” medical cannabis board.
However, aside from these current issues that will be regarded promptly, patients will definitely benefit handsomely from the bill. The state of Pennsylvania passing a medical marijuana bill alone just goes to show how miraculous things are moving along for SB 3, as getting past Republicans (who mostly control Pennsylvania’s legislature) is a phenomenon.
States integrate their laws regarding medical programs quite often; what we see now is Pennsylvania following New York City’s footsteps of non-smokables for consumption of medical marijuana. This is a terrific move on Pennsylvania’s part!
As there are already 23 separate models of cannabis laws, the rules don’t necessarily have to be reinvented every time.
In modern day society, non-smokeables have become a popular option for cannabis consumption, as they provide wonderful benefits to the user. Cannabis capsules fit in perfectly with this motif, as they are convenient and personalized for every patient’s individual needs; providing exact dosage formulas and a variety and selection of capsule branding opportunities. Because the current regulations in the medical marijuana program are strict, capsules serve as a brilliant tool for consuming cannabis in a safe, healthy and discreet method. I believe that many states moving forward will follow suit as well.
The upcoming movement will help legitimize the medical cannabis industry by displaying to the world, that cannabis can be enjoyed in different types of ways. We’d love to watch our industry learn from the already-existing pharmaceutical industry, which has legitimized the consumption of various other chemical compounds for the purpose of treating medical conditions and symptoms.
The movement also helps de-stigmatize medical cannabis use and provides access to those who need it the most. The strict model of patient requirements sets a standard for cannabis consumption.
I believe Pennsylvania and New York are on the right path, showing rest of the world the cannabis doesn’t necessarily have to be smoked.