Mary Cease was denied federal housing because she is a medical marijuana patient. Prescribed because she wanted to get off prescribed opiates.
York Daily Record
Yes, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana stores are open to the state’s more than 147,000 registered patients during the coronavirus pandemic and patients can now use online ordering to accelerate the dispensing process.
Pennsylvania health officials have said that food, medicine and banking services are considered essential and will remain open. And the state considers medical marijuana a medicine, the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed this week.
But some of the program’s regulations initially made it difficult for patients and caregivers to heed advice from Gov. Tom Wolf and health professionals that people limit trips outside the home.
And many medical marijuana patients are considered high-risk for complications associated with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. Patients have conditions such as cancer and HIV/AIDS and may have weakened immune systems.
That’s why Gov. Wolf has temporarily suspended regulations that require dispensing to occur inside a dispensary.
The statutory and regulatory suspensions will remain in place for as long as the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency is in effect.
So, what are these changes?
Delivery or curbside pick-up
Patients now are able go to a cannabis retailer and have their product brought to their cars. Dispensary employees will be able to go out to the vehicle, retrieve patient identification cards, and then deliver the prescription to the vehicle.
Approved caregivers now may deliver medical marijuana to an unlimited number of patients, rather than limiting services to five patients. This will allow more caregivers to serve patients in need.
“In the midst of COVID-19, we need to ensure medical marijuana patients have access to medication,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We want to be sure cardholders in the medical marijuana program can receive medication.”
Difficulty stocking up
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends stocking up on enough medication to last 14 days.
Physicians will be able to recommend up to a 90-day supply, up from the normal 30-day restriction on medical marijuana.
Caregivers will no longer be required to complete background checks to renew their state-issued cards. And patients will no longer have to visit their recommending doctors in person to renew their certifications.
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