Hermitage doctor among physicians approved to prescribe medical cannabis – Sharonherald

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana

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HARRISBURG — The state Department of Health on Wednesday launched the process that will allow prospective medical marijuana patients to get approved to use the drug.

The Health Department also announced the first 109 doctors who’ve completed the state-required training to certify that patients are eligible to get medical marijuana. The list includes one Mercer County physician, Dr. Robert Brown, of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Hermitage.

These are key steps toward the state’s push to get medical marijuana into the hands of people who need it within the next six months, said John Collins, Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana at the Department of Health.

“It’s going to happen,” Colllins said in a Wednesday morning press conference at the state Capitol. Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in April 2016.

Pennsylvania is one of 29 states that will allow patients to legally use medical marijuana, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

Dr. Rachel Levine, acting secretary of health for the state, said that in addition to the 109 doctors approved to make recommendations about medical marijuana, another 200 doctors have applied to the state to participate in the medical marijuana program.

“That’s excellent. That’s outstanding,” she said.

The state’s medical marijuana law was championed by a small group of lawmakers who’d largely been convinced on the need for the legislation by parents of children with ailments that are believed to be treatable with the drug.

State Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, said that the effort by those parents was one of the most effective grass-roots lobbying campaigns he’s seen at the Capitol. Folmer was a state Senate co-sponsor, along with Democrat Daylin Leach of Montgomery County, on the medical marijuana bill.

Even so, Folmer said, “We had moments of doubt that it was ever going to happen.”

The result is legislation that provides “one more arrow in the quiver” of patients and family members of people with diseases that can benefit from the drug, he said.

Two growers have already had their operations approved by state regulators, Collins said. The other 10 growers are expected to be up and running in time to meet the demand for the drug when patients are eligible to get it, he said.

Under the state’s plan, patients must first register on the Department of Health’s website before visiting an approved doctor to get certified as someone with a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana. Once the doctor has provided that certification, the person can then apply for a medical marijuana card to be used to get the drug at one of the 27 dispensaries across the state.

The fee to get a medical marijuana card will be $50.

Hermitage doctor among physicians approved to prescribe medical cannabis – Sharonherald

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