Last Updated: May 20, 2021
The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) has issued its comments on the proposed permanent regulations the Pa. Department of Health previously issued to replace its existing temporary regulations regarding medical marijuana. IRRC’s comments can be accessed in their entirety here.
IRRC reiterated several of the concerns that the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) raised including: the interchangeable usage of physician and practitioner throughout the regulations, the statutory authority of DOH to amend the list of serious medical conditions outside of the legislative or regulatory process, questions related to the interaction between practitioners-medical professionals-caregivers and patients, and questions concerning training requirements.
In its April 1, 2021 comment letter, PAMED sought clarification on a number of issues, such as:
- Serious Medical Conditions. The definition of ‘serious medical condition’ has been revised from the temporary regulations to include “any other condition recommended by the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board and approved by the Secretary (of Health).”
- Several disparities between the provisions of the Medical Marijuana Act and the proposed regulations such as information that must be provided with patient certifications.
- Issues related to when a caregiver of a patient is the individual obtaining medical marijuana on behalf of a patient at a dispensary and consultation occurs with the medical professional at the dispensary.
- Several questions related to training requirements such as what is acceptable for continuing education providers as to general information regarding federal and state laws on medical marijuana.
DOH now has two years to respond to the comments and issue final-form regulations. DOH will likely not take this full two-year period. The current temporary regulations were set to expire Nov. 20, 2021. However, Act 44 of 2021 extended this date to May 31, 2022. Act 44 took effect immediately upon being signed into law by the Governor on June 30, 2021.
Additionally, Act 44 made several changes to the Medical Marijuana Program. Among these changes is the ability of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board to make changes to the list of serious medical conditions subject to subsequent approval by the Secretary of Health and publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. For more information on Act 44, see this PAMED resource.
Additional resources from PAMED regarding Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana can be accessed here.