Pennsylvania Published Temporary Medical Marijuana Regulations

PENNSYLVANIA: The Department of Health is publishing temporary regulations relating to dispensaries. The temporary regulations are published under the Medical Marijuana Act. Section 1107 of the act (35 P.S. § 10231.1107) specifically provides that, to facilitate the prompt implementation of the act, the Department may promulgate temporary regulations that are not subject to sections 201—205 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240) (45 P.S. §§ 1201—1205), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law, the Regulatory Review Act (71 P.S. §§ 745.1—745.14) and sections 204(b) and 301(10) of the Commonwealth Attorneys Act (71 P.S. §§ 732-204(b) and 732-301(10)).

To implement the Medical Marijuana Program, the Department will be periodically publishing temporary regulations regarding various sections of the act. The temporary regulations for dispensaries are effective upon publication and will expire on December 10, 2018.

Chapter 1161 pertains to dispensaries that will dispense medical marijuana to patients and caregivers in accordance with the act. The next set of temporary regulations that the Department anticipates publishing relate to laboratories, followed by temporary regulations relating to practitioners, caregivers and patients, and academic clinical research centers.

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding the temporary regulations to John J. Collins, Office of Medical Marijuana, Department of Health, Room 628, Health and Welfare Building, 625 Forester Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120, (717) 787-4366, Persons with a disability who wish to submit comments, suggestions or objections regarding the temporary regulations may do so by using the previous contact information. Speech and/or hearing impaired persons may use V/TT (717) 783-6514 or the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TT). Persons who require an alternative format of this document may contact John J. Collins so that necessary arrangements may be made.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program Now Online

PENNSYLVANIA: Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy announced that applications for the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program’s Safe Harbor Letter are now available online for parents, legal guardians, caregivers, and spouses to administer medical marijuana within the commonwealth to minors in their care with physician-documented serious medical conditions.

“I am excited to announce the availability of the Pennsylvania Safe Harbor Letter application, as it means children with serious medical conditions and those who care for them can begin to experience an increased quality of life,” said Dr. Murphy. “It’s very important to remember that approved Safe Harbor Letters should always be carried with individuals whenever medical marijuana is being transported and administered outside of the home.”

Parents, legal guardians, caregivers, and spouses who will be applying for the letter must have certain documents secured before beginning the submission process. All applicants will need a picture ID, will have to complete a background check, and must also obtain a completed Safe Harbor Letter Physician Form from the minor’s Pennsylvania-licensed doctor. Legal guardians will need to provide guardianship papers, spouses will need to submit a marriage certificate, and caregivers must include proof of caregiver status. The application process will be done completely online, so all documents must be submitted in electronic form. Individuals without computer access should call 1-877-PA-HEALTH for assistance.

The department developed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines to thoroughly and carefully outline the specific requirements that must be followed when a parent, legal guardian, caregiver, or spouse is applying to obtain medical marijuana to administer to minors who have a physician-documented serious medical condition.

While the Safe Harbor Letter is intended to serve as approval for Pennsylvania parents, legal guardians, caregivers, and spouses to possess and administer medical marijuana to minors within their care in the commonwealth, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice has the authority to enforce civil and criminal federal laws relating to marijuana use and possession.

The Department of Health is working to implement a high quality, efficient, and compliant medical marijuana program inPennsylvania. Temporary regulations are expected to be issued by the end of this calendar year for growers/processors; dispensaries/laboratories; physicians; patients and caregivers, as well as certain research institutions. The temporary regulations will explain the medical marijuana program’s operation and will be in place for two years from the date they are published.

The medical marijuana program was signed into law as Act 16 of 2016 by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016, and became effective one month later on May 17. The implementation of the program is expected to take between 18 and 24 months and, when completed, will offer medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the act.