Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is taking another big step forward. On Monday, State Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine approved recommendations to expand the uses of the drug and the forms in which it’s available.
Just one week after an advisory panel recommended changes to the medical marijuana program, Dr. Levine approved all of them. Four conditions including terminal illness and severe pain will be added to the 17 already approved for marijuana therapy.
Pennsylvanians in the program will also be able to buy the drug in leaf and plant form to be vaporized. Dr. Levine says medical and scientific evidence, as well safety and cost issues make that a logical move.
“So all of the research is done with dry leaf and flower at least in the United States and so it makes sense to include that preparation in the program,” Levine explained.
However, at the Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program, Director Judy Rosser says there’s no scientific evidence accepted by major U.S. medical associations, that marijuana effectively treats any illnesses.
She believes that the entire program endangers efforts to fight addiction…
“Our youth survey shows that marijuana has overtaken alcohol as a primary drug of choice of our youth, that the access is there, it’s available and that it’ll continue to be available and they’re already saying but it’s medicine, this is medicine, so it’s safer,” she said.
According to the health department, 30,000 Pennsylvanians have registered for the medical marijuana program. Nearly 12,000 have received the drug. Regulations for changing the medical marijuana program still need to be written.
They’re expected to take effect on May 12.