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Are Docs Actually Planning To Prescribe Medical Marijuana? Department Of Health Wants To Know

Ted S. Warren
In this Tuesday, March 28, 2017 photo, Meagan Holt holds a vial of cannabis oil she uses to comfort her daughter Maddie, Tuesday, March 28, 2017.

One year ago, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf. Officials with the Department of Health said they hope the first prescriptions will be filled in May of 2018.  

However, the department still doesn’t know how much interest there is among Pennsylvania doctors when it comes to prescribing the drug. So health officials are asking physicians to take an online survey about their intentions.

“We’re using this … to gauge who would participate in the program, where they would be located and what kind of information do they need to get started,” said department spokesperson April Hutchenson. “I don’t have any results that I can share at this time.”

The survey was initially posted two weeks ago.  

Hutchenson said state officials have been trying to gather feedback every step of the way.

“Whether it’s from the patient community or from the industry, and from practitioners as well,” she said. “Now we are developing regulations for practitioners. It’s really important to make sure that we have their feedback, to make sure that we have the best program available for the people who need medication.”

For a doctor to prescribe medical marijuana, they must have an existing relationship with the patient and that patient must have one of 17 approved conditions such as cancer, glaucoma or autism.

Hutchenson said the state is also taking feedback on the various regulations. Grower, or processor, and dispensers permits are expected to be issued in June.