She Estimates 200,000 To 250,000 Patients In Pennsylvania Could Qualify For Medical Marijuana Treatment, Far More Than In New York, Which Has 17,559 Patients, Or New Jersey, Which Has 12,514, According To The Marijuana Policy Project.

In Pennsylvania, 17 conditions qualify for treatment with medical marijuana, including several not covered in New Jersey: autism, damage to nervous tissue and intractable pain. Patients won’t be able to smoke the drug, which will only be available in the form of pills, oils, topical gels, creams or ointments. The plant’s active ingredient could also be prescribed in liquid form to be used with a vaporizer or nebulizer. “Pennsylvania’s program is so much broader than New Jersey or New York’s,” said Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, which supports medical marijuana use and reducing penalties for recreational use. She estimates 200,000 to 250,000 patients in Pennsylvania could qualify for medical marijuana treatment, far more than in New York, which has 17,559 patients, or New Jersey, which has 12,514, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. Pennsylvania patients should be able to get the drug when the program is in full effect in 2018. Already, the state has issued 12 of an anticipated 25 grower/processor permits and 27 dispensary permits, including two in the Lehigh Valley . The state Health Department has taken steps to educate doctors about the new program, said April Hutcheson, a spokeswoman for the department. Last year, the department hired as its patient liaison Latrisha “Lolly” Bentch, founder of the Campaign for Compassion, a group of caregivers advocating for medical marijuana and education. Bentch ensured that patients, caregivers and advocates were represented in the development of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

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