What Is a Physician’s Role in Safe Harbor Provision of PA’s Medical Marijuana Law?

Pennsylvania's Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Karen Murphy recently sent a letter to Pennsylvania physicians regarding the Safe Harbor Provision of the commonwealth's medical marijuana law. The Safe Harbor Provision enables a parent or guardian of a minor under 18 years of age to lawfully obtain medical marijuana from another state, U.S. territory, or any other country to be administered to a minor.

Get the Letter

"As part of the application process for a Safe Harbor Letter, a parent, legal guardian, caregiver, or spouse must request a doctor to sign a form stating that in their medical opinion the minor has one of the serious medical conditions listed in the act," writes Sec. Murphy in the letter. She also says that physicians should be aware that marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.

Get the DOH's Safe Harbor Physician Form

The form signed by the physician will only be considered as a statement that the minor in question has a serious medical condition as defined by Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Act. DOH will not consider it as a prescription for medical marijuana, as the physician form is just one of several requirements that must be met before an application for a Safe Harbor Letter is granted.

Physicians who wish to assist a parent, legal guardian, caregiver, or spouse in applying for a Safe Harbor Letter can complete and sign the Safe Harbor Physician Form. Once DOH reviews and approves the form, a copy will be returned to the physician for his/her medical records.

Additional Resources

PAMED offers a series of Quick Consult publications to answer physician and patient questions on the state's Medical Marijuana Act:

  • Safe Harbor Provision
  • General Information
  • Highlights of Medical Marijuana Act
  • Information for Physicians
  • Upcoming Process
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