Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy today encouraged Pennsylvanians who will be eligible for the Medical Marijuana Program to participate in a short survey to help ensure the program will meet their needs. The survey will be available on the department’s website until 5:00 PM on Friday, November 18.
“If you are a Pennsylvania resident and a patient with a serious medical condition, or a family member interested in becoming a caregiver for a patient, we want your feedback to ensure that we are developing a top quality program that provides relief to those in pain,” Secretary Murphy said. “The goal of the Medical Marijuana Program is to provide patients with serious medical conditions the help they need to cope. Throughout this process, we have been asking for patient feedback to develop a refined, patient-centered program.”
In addition to asking for input on the Medical Marijuana Program, Secretary Murphy recently announced that the department has hired Latrisha “Lolly” Bentch of Camp Hill, Cumberland County, as the new patient liaison in the Office of Medical Marijuana.
“The patient liaison’s responsibilities include ensuring medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and advocacy groups have representation and access to the program during and after its development,” said Secretary Murphy.
Bentch’s responsibilities include ensuring medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and advocacy groups have representation and access to the program during and after its development. By listening to those who will be directly affected by the program, the department is constantly working to make sure the program will work as effectively as possible. The patient liaison position is the first of its kind across all medical marijuana programs in the United States, and will serve as a model for other states.
The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has:
· Completed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines and Safe Harbor Letter application process, as well as approved 115 applications to date;
· Released public surveys to aid in the development of temporary regulations for growers/processors and dispensaries/laboratories;
· Developed the Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup, which is scheduled to meet again on November 28; and
· Released a Request for Information for Electronic Tracking IT solutions for the tracking of medical marijuana.
Full implementation of the program is expected to take between 18 and 24 months. The program will provide access to medical marijuana for patients who are Pennsylvania residents under a physician’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by Act 16.
Questions about the medical marijuana program can be emailed to RA-DHMedMarijuana@pa.gov. Information is also available at www.health.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783
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