PA Establishes Physicians Working Group for MMJ Program

In a move that may encourage Pennsylvania doctors to get certified to recommend medical marijuana, the state’s Department of Health has established a physician working group to help implement its new MMJ law.

It’s an important issue because in some states, medical cannabis programs have suffered because of a lack of physicians willing to recommend cannabis.

“Physicians and their medical expertise are crucial to the success of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program, and we will continue to engage them throughout the process to ensure their medical expertise is heard on behalf of patients,” the state’s health secretary, Dr. Karen Murphy, told the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The working group will convene within the next few weeks, according to the publication.

The health department expects to complete temporary regulations for growers and processors by the end of August, and has said the program could be up and running by early 2018, according to the paper.

Temporary regulations for dispensaries, laboratories, physicians, patients, and caregivers will be released sequentially.

Representatives in the working group hail from more than a dozen prominent medical entities, including Penn State Health, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System’s Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine.

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3 comments on “PA Establishes Physicians Working Group for MMJ Program
  1. Michael Mayes on

    I truly think the best approach for physician paperwork is a form that does not mention medical marijuana at all but qualifies the patient for having the condition. After all, the doctor is just recommending that the patient is eligible to enter the program since they have one of the qualifying conditions. If a patient were able to obtain a signed document from their physician stating they have a condition it would bypass any legal ramifications when “prescribing cannabis”. The task of a recommendation should fall into the hands of the patient and release any liability on the physician. For more insight please feel free to reach out.

    Michael Mayes

    • Eileen Koniecny on

      Sounds like you would want to take the medical out of medical cannabis. The value of having a physician knowledgeable about the ECS and of cannabinoid therapeutics is very valuable to the patients who are looking to understand how to use cannabis. Cannabis is just another tool in the tool box of medical professionals. So how about we embrace educating the almost 1 million physicians in this country, instead of figuring out a work around, which leaves patients in the dark about how to incorporate this amazing plant into their treatment plan. If you would like to talk more, please don’t’ hesitate to connect…
      Eileen Konieczny ~ President American Cannabis Nurses Association

  2. Rickety Rack on

    Eileen, “sounds like you would want to take the medical out of medical cannabis” is a silly scold. The list of qualifying conditions itself puts Michael’s proposal, and indeed the whole of MMJ legislation (in as much as they use such lists), firmly in the medical arena. A medical diagnosis is needed to establish the fact of the qualifying medical condition. Boom.

    As far as your point about the value of education and expertise, that’s very true but how would what Mr Mayes proposes be hindering any of that? Answer: it would not in the least. Patients and physicians are left free to educate and be educated ’till the cows come home. Sounds to me like you are concerned with protecting benefits to your professional specialty. N’est ce pas? There’s no shame in that, but let’s please be honest about it. Lastly, you completely ignored Michael’s main point, which is concerned with the legalities of “prescribing” and “recommending”; most to the point, the exposure of the physician’s practice to being at odds with both Federal law and the AMA. It’s a perfectly valid point, and will be so until Federal law changes and the AMA changes.

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