Cozen O’Connor: Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Expansion Impacts Patients, Physicians, and Dispensaries [Cannabis Alert]

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Expansion Impacts Patients, Physicians, and Dispensaries

Cannabis Industry Alert

April 26, 2018

The Pennsylvania Department of Health recently expanded Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana program to broaden the types of products available for patients, the types of conditions that may be treated with medicinal marijuana, and added additional protection for prescribing doctors.

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, recently approved all recommendations from Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. The recommendations include, among others: 

  • Dried leaf and flower form of medical marijuana may be sold by dispensaries;
  • Physicians may opt out of having their names appear in the Medical Marijuana Program’s public registry; and
  • An increase to 21 “serious medical conditions” that may be treated with medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana will continue to be administered via pills, oils, tinctures, and concentrates for vaping or ointments. The dried leaf and flower products would be administered in a form that can be vaporized. The medical advisory board and Dr. Levine hope that allowing physicians to opt out of the registry will encourage increased physician participation in certifying patients for use of medical marijuana.

Under Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, no additional legislative measures are necessary for approving these recommendations beyond Dr. Levine’s determination. Governor Wolf announced his support of these changes in a recent press statement. The official press release is available here.

Regulations enacting the approved recommendations are expected to be available May 12, 2018, in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. 

Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and as such it remains a federal crime to grow, sell and/or use marijuana. Any content contained herein is not intended to provide legal advice to assist with violation of any state or federal law.


J. Nicole Martin


(215) 665-2054

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If you want to learn more about the issues discussed in this Alert, please contact a member of Cozen O'Connor's Cannabis Industry Team