Pa. Dept. of Health co-hosts Millcreek medical marijuana seminar
To get medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, you'll have to get an ID card, similar to a driver's license. It costs just $50, but whether or not health insurance companies will pick up the costs of the medicine is unknown.
ERIE, Pa. - To get medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, you'll have to get an ID card, similar to a driver's license. It costs just $50, but for Ione Moore, it could lead to a less painful life.
"It's something I've never tried so I'm open to ideas," Moore said.
Moore suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, or "PTSD." She was among the dozens meeting with the Pennsylvania Health Department in Millcreek Thursday, learning more about this evolving and complex issue.
PTSD is one of what the commonwealth calls "serious medical conditions"; there are 17 in all including multiple sclerosis, cancer, epilepsy, and autism.
That ID card is required for both adults and minors, as well, according to Lolly Bentch, patient liaison from the Office of Medical Marijuana. Parents or caregivers could administer the medicine at school, Bentch said, but are required to obtain a "safe harbor letter" first.
"Everything in Pennsylvania is a seed-to-sale operation," said Jill Beck, of Green Thumb Industries, the owners of the region's only medical marijuana dispensary, which is scheduled to open this spring in Erie.
Patients regardless of age are required to maintain an ongoing relationship with their physician to keep that ID card, Bentch said.
If you have a medical condition that isn't on that list, a 15-member medical marijuana advisory board could add it in the future.
"Intentionally in this legislation, we left a big gray area for the department of health to establish these regulations and to come up with a plan they saw as appropriate for physicians and patients in Pennsylvania," said State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Millcreek), whose office co-hosted the event.
But some questions remain: Exactly how much will medicinal marijuana cost? Will insurance cover it?
"That's an issue that isn't resolved right now," said Moore. "It's all out-of-pocket until the funding comes in."