Here in Pennsylvania, you don’t have to be a criminal defense lawyer to know that the issue of medical marijuana is one being discussed in the state – in fact, the measure, which would legalize pot for treatment of certain health conditions, is being debated in the state Senate today.
According to media reports, the Senate made some changes to the pending bill on Monday, which would allow for more medical conditions to be treated with marijuana – including chronic pain, Crohn’s Disease, and diabetes.
The bill would also allow for vaporization to be used as a method to treat everything from cancer to Post Traumatic Stress Disease and seizures.
No, marijuana will not be prescribed to smoke; it would be prescribed as an oil instead.
So what happens if the state Senate passes the bill? It goes to the state House for reconsideration (they failed to pass the original version of the legislation during last year’s term).
Then, if the House should pass it? That’s when it goes to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk for his John Hancock. He’s gone on the record saying he would support legalization of medical marijuana.
Why should you care? Well, as a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer who does a high volume of DUI work, people should know that even if a drug is medically dispensed, if a police officer pulls you over for unsafe driving and it’s in your system, guess what? You could be charged with DUI. Generally, a Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer deals with these kinds of cases quite frequently.
But as I’ve long said: This Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney believes that marijuana DUIs will be big business in the state, especially given the training police officers are already receiving to become so-called Drug Recognition Experts.
And because of that, I, being a Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer, look forward to following what happens with Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana bill so I can be a better advocate for clients – both current and future.
Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program was signed into law on April 17, 2016. Full implementation is expected no later than April 2018.
Applications for medical marijuana growers, producers, and dispensaries became available in January of this year. The Department of Health has come up with a set of temporary regulations governing everyone involved in the process, including practitioners. A contract was rewarded to MJ Freeman for tracking the pot from seeds to sales. As of July 26th, physicians can complete the Department’s Physician Registry as the first step toward participation in the program.
So far, 27 dispensaries and 12 growers/producers have received permits to participate in the program. The Departments has also created the Medical Marijuana Physician’s Workgroup, which is the website where doctors, growers, and other potential participants in the program can go to complete the application process.
If you are under a doctor’s care and being treated for a serious condition, you may qualify to receive medical marijuana as a form of treatment.
Two additional conditions are expected to be added to the list of medical conditions that are allowed to be treated with medical marijuana. The medical marijuana advisory board approved Anxiety and Tourette Syndrome in February, but the State Department of Health Secretary has yet to sign off on it. Dr. Rachel Levine is still reviewing literature about the ways cannabis can help the two conditions and how to use it to treat them. She has said she will sign off on it this summer. The additions will bring the list to twenty-three.
There has been criticism of the advisory board for how it has handled police officer training. Currently, there has been no training provided to teach officers which products have been legally produced and how they can identify the packaging of legal marijuana.