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Pennsylvania Legalized Medical Marijuana But Some Doctors Are Still Clueless How It Will Work

Update Date: Apr 20, 2016 04:20 AM EDT
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Pennsylvania has legalized medical marijuana. However, some doctors are still wondering how it will be implemented. And, if they were asked about the prescription, how would they start?

Dr. Antoine Douaihy, the medical director of addiction medicine services at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic of UPMC, is one of the doctors who have the questions when it comes to the legalization of the medical marijuana, as reported by Trib Live.

"It's kind of bizarre," said Douaihy. "If a patient comes and asks me about a prescription for medical marijuana, I wouldn't know where to start. How much can you prescribe? How are we as physicians going to apply this new law? Who is going to educate the physicians?"

Dr. Loren Robinson, the deputy secretary for health promotion and disease prevention at the Pennsylvania Department of Health has the answer to their questions.

She said that it might take two years to set up a system for medical marijuana with up to 150 assigned state-regulated dispensaries. The new law was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf on Sunday and will take effect after 30 days.

"We think we have thought it out pretty well," said Robinson. "But I'm sure as we get started, it will be a learning process, for sure."

But setting up a controlled medical cannabis program means a lot of delays for the patients if it will be under the management of state's Health Department, according to attorney Patrick Nightingale who heads the local chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, CBS reported.

"The great concern is that the highly regulated model becomes the bogged-down overly regulated model," Nightingale said. "What we need to keep in mind at all times moving forward is that the goal of this program is to benefit Pennsylvania patients," he added.

Once the law has fully implemented, it will be a big help to different patients with 17 specific conditions which include cancer, Parkinson's, epilepsy, HIV-AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress, chronic or intractable pain and sickle cell anemia.

The patient can get an identification card after being examined by their doctor and recommended to take medical marijuana for treatment. "Once this form has been signed by a physician, the patient will submit the form to the Pennsylvania Department of Health in order to receive a patient identification card for the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program," said Dr. Robinson.

On the other hand, no insurance has covered medical marijuana at the moment and the state will regulate its price. Nightingale said that it must be cheaper than the marijuana sold at the black market to work.

Pennsylvania is the sixth largest state, and with the legalization of medical marijuana, a new billion dollar industry is about to come out.

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