U.S. city Philadelphia will soon be second, after New Jersey, to permit the use of marijuana to treat opioid withdrawal.
“It’s another tool,” Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said. “The whole idea of this program is to provide another tool in the toolbox of physicians to treat these conditions.”
Levine explained that her office has approved the sale of cannabis leaf or bud, which is more affordable than oils or vaporizers since it requires no additional processing.
“I am ecstatic today,” State Sen. Daylin Leach, said. “Allowing the whole plant will dramatically expand the number of patients who benefit from medical cannabis and will go a long way toward guaranteeing that this huge new industry survives and prospers.”
Gov. Tom Wolf thanked Levine and the state Department of Health for approving the changes.
“Allowing dry leaf for vaporization will shorten the time it takes to get medication to dispensaries, expand options for the growing number of patients, and hopefully make the program less cost-prohibitive for some patients.”
Other advocates have also lauded the Levine's efforts to revamp the state's marijuana program.
“There’s no manual labor turning it into something else, whether it’s filling a capsule or filling a vape pen. Every time someone touches it, it makes it more expensive,” CEO of Marijuana producer Cresco Yeltrah, Charlie Bachtell, said.
“For some patients, the cost of their medical marijuana could drop by 50 percent with the addition of flower,” said Chris Visco, owner of TerraVida Holistic Centers dispensaries.
“It offers the lowest price per milligram of THC, the active ingredient.”
Terminal illness, neurodegenerative diseases, and dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders are conditions that can now be treated with medical marijuana.
Smoking cannabis remains prohibited by Pennsylvania law.