Department of Health: Next Step is to Help Pay for Medical Marijuana


An annual report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health says state’s medical marijuana program is asking for more funding to subsidize patients who can’t afford medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana in PA

Medical marijuana has been legal since 2016 in Pennsylvania and is approved for residents of the commonwealth with a “serious medical condition” and who get certified by a doctor registered with the program. The program is overseen by a Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, and patients with one of 23 medical conditions qualify.

Currently, 23 growers/processors hold permits and are operational, according to the report. The commonwealth has 161 active dispensary sites that sell medical marijuana. As of May, 61.6 million products have been sold since the program’s inception. Growers and dispensaries are subject to regulatory inspections from the Department of Health, which has conducted about 1,600 inspections.

Penalties can be steep: A violation can lead to “suspension or revocation of operating permit, civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation, order of restitution of funds or property unlawfully obtained or retained, or issuance of a cease-and-desist order of some or all operations,” the report noted.

Assistance Program

Currently, the department uses funds from the assistance program to subsidize ID card fees and background check fees.

The next step, the report noted, is “assisting patients with paying for their medical marijuana products at the point of sale.”

A total of 45% of the fund would help tremendously in ensuring the needs of qualifying patients are met.



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