Sunday, June 16, 2024

A Doctor Can Now Recommend You Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania

It’s happened. Pennsylvania has certified over 100 doctors to recommend medical cannabis. The names of the doctors have been publicized and their phones are now ringing off the hook.

Hoping to see medical marijuana ready and rolled out within six months, physician Dr. Rachel Levine seemed to exhale, “We are one step closer, one step closer.” And it is a relief, though what types of relief will be available is another story.

Although there will be pills, creams, oils and marijuana that is strictly for vaping on the dispensary shelves, there will be nothing that is just plain smokable. Some advocates believe that smoking takes away from the medical benefits while others see it as a fine delivery system. In Pennsylvania, though, the choice will not yet be there.

Of the doctors authorized, 14 have been approved in NE and central Pennsylvania, one of them, Dr. Richard Blum, says he knows of a patient already who “actually would qualify.” Blum’s phone’s been ringing since the list of approved doctors was made public.

Dr. Blum has been practicing medicine for over 40 years and never thought he’d be recommending marijuana.

“I don’t think when I first started that I ever considered the notion of medical marijuana, but I mean in recent years, sure. It’s available in other states and I know people who have really needed it and benefited from it and have moved to California for instance to take advantage of it,” said Blum.

“I gather from the phone calls today that there is a demand out there and I don’t imagine that I will be one of the doctors who will be interested in that demand. I’m more interested in helping patients that I know can be helped,” Dr. Blum continued, likely echoing the sentiment of many doctors new to recommending the plant.

But the patients are coming and the cannabis is growing. White Haven’s Standard Farms, LLC was already approved to grow and process cannabis for patients who will be ready and waiting for their meds next year.

As Pennsylvania medical cannabis activist Adrienne Leasa said, “The gate has been opened and there is so much hope in cannabis.”

Correction: An earlier headline incorrectly said that doctors can prescribe medical marijuana. Doctors are not allowed to prescribe marijuana in any state, only recommend. 

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