The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law in April 2016, and the state’s medical marijuana program was fully operational by early 2018. The law provides that Pennsylvania’s program shall be run by a Director of Medical Marijuana, who is supported by a 15-member Advisory Board.
The purpose of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is to monitor the progress of the medical marijuana program and those of other states, accept comments from the public and industry stakeholders, and to periodically report to the Governor, the Department of Health, and the Director of Medical Marijuana on proposed changes to the Commonwealth’s Medical Marijuana Program.
A main topic of discussion and debate within the Advisory Board is the list of qualifying medical conditions (known as “Serious Medical Conditions” in the Act) that are approved for the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. The law originally identified 17 serious medical conditions, and in 2018, the Advisory Board expanded that list to include four additional conditions. The current list of serious medical conditions approved in Pennsylvania can be found here.
At its most recent meeting on May 15, 2019, the Advisory Board again discussed the addition of serious medical conditions. Specifically, the Advisory Board discussed the addition of Anxiety and Tourette’s Syndrome. These two conditions were already approved earlier this year through a vote of the Advisory Board, but have yet to be approved by the Commonwealth’s Department of Health. At the May 15 meeting, DOH Director Dr. Rachel Levine said she expects to make a final decision this summer on whether to approve these conditions under the law, but would like to conduct further study on how patients with these conditions would be affected by the use of cannabis.
The next quarterly meeting of the PA Medical Marijuana Advisory Board will occur on August 14, 2019. For more information on the Advisory Board’s activities, you can check out the PA Department of Health’s website, or check back here for more updates.
Joseph McNelis works in Fox Rothschild’s Blue Bell, PA office and focuses his practice on labor and employment matters. Joe also tracks legal developments in the cannabis industry in Pennsylvania and nationwide. Joe can be contacted at 610-397-2332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.