The Pennsylvania Department of Health secretary approved recommendations Monday that would allow dispensaries to sell medical marijuana in leaf form starting later this summer.
Under the recommendations approved Monday, the medical marijuana leaf will be able to patients to be vaporized but not smoked.
Dr. Rachel Levine approved the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board’s recent recommendation and has advised state officials to prepare regulations.
“After careful consideration I have decided to implement all of the recommendations put forth by the Advisory Board. This means that dry leaf or flower will be sold in Pennsylvania dispensaries in a form that can be vaporized, not smoked, later this summer,” Levine said.
“I thank the Department of Health, advisory board members, and Dr. Levine for their careful review of potential program improvements and their continued efforts to enhance and expand this important program that is already serving more than 10,000 patients with another 20,000 registered,” Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement.
The initial medical marijuana regulations allowed patients suffering from one of the qualifying conditions to be able to access marijuana processed pills, ointment, patch, and oil form products with orders from a doctor.
Medical marijuana advocates have said that the dried leafy form is more affordable than other medical marijuana products and can be more effective for certain ailments.
Among other recommendations approved include expanding the list of medical conditions that allow for medical marijuana treatment from 17 to 21, allowing medical marijuana as an opioid abuse treatment, eliminating the need for patients to pay for a medical marijuana card more than once a year, allowing doctors to opt-out of listing their name on the public registry, and require pediatric patients to be certified by a pediatrician or pediatric specialist.
So far, the Medical Marijuana Program has seen more than 30,000 patients register and 10,000 have already received their identification cards and received medical marijuana at a dispensary. In addition, almost 1,000 doctors have registered for the program, according to state officials.