Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf approved new updates (HB 1024, now Act 24 of 2021) to the five-year-old law that first legalized it. Some changes will continue efforts that began during the pandemic, such as permanently allowing curbside pickup and a three-month supply. Other changes are new, such as allowing caregivers to pick up the drug on behalf of more than one patient. “It’s been five years since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, and in that time the Department of Health has examined the program’s successes and challenges and made important recommendations on improving the law,” Wolf said in a statement.
The new law adds cancer remission therapy and neuropathies of the central nervous system to the list of medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana, and it expands the number of research facilities that study patient response to the drug. While the state law extends access to medical marijuana, a June 2 informational bulletin to the state from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) discusses a new condition on grant awards from SAMHSA that requires organizations receiving SAMHSA funding, in order to continue serving individuals using medical marijuana for a mental or substance use disorder, to “document the client’s understanding of the risks of marijuana use and willingness to work toward other, evidence-based alternatives to treat their mental and substance use disorder.”