Anxiety Could Be Added to PA’s List of Qualifying Conditions
If there’s one thing about medical marijuana laws, it’s that the list of qualifying conditions isn’t final yet. In the years succeeding its legalization, a number of conditions might still be added to the list as lawmakers review petitioned conditions.
It’s quite the same for Pennsylvania because another condition might be added to the list: anxiety. This condition is a common one nowadays and lawmakers are still debating on whether to add it to the list of not. But one thing’s for sure, it’s making them think.
Two Conditions for Approval
When medical marijuana was approved in Pennsylvania, only 17 conditions were part of the list. The following conditions were the only passes patients had to get their own medical marijuana identification cards.
Since then, the law has expanded to adding 4 conditions, making a total of 21 conditions – including chronic pain. Today, the residents are just waiting for the approval of Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of Health for two conditions: anxiety and Tourette Syndrome. The decision will be made this year’s summer.
Out of all the submitted petitions, only these two conditions were left because the literature surrounding both are strong. Medical evidence received by the board that reviewed each of the petitions were strong enough to push these two to the next level.
Levine is quite hesitant in approving such conditions because she says she want to make sure that the evidence they have on-hand actually support the usage of it for the said conditions.
Supporters like Patrick Nightingale of Pittsburgh NORML said that adding anxiety and Tourette syndrome was vital to pushing the medical marijuana program forward.
If ever it gets approved, it still needs to pass through a Republic-controlled body of lawmakers which is currently against the legalization of medical marijuana. With this being said, it might still take years before anything happens.
Anxiety as a Condition
Mental health has been a sensitive topic for how many months now. Anxiety is just one of the conditions that receive quite the judgement from people who don’t really understand how it works. If ever it gets added, the stigma surrounding it might cease to exist.
But for now, the battle is still on. People who live in Pennsylvania and have anxiety are hoping for the approval of this condition. These people have been constantly looked down upon because of the illness they simply have.
According to Shalawn James, an advocate, a lot of these people deserve to be given the validation for their illness. Despite not having physical pain, it’s still very much present in their lives. His belief that marijuana can help with this has been one of the main reasons why he’s advocating for it.
As of the moment, the only mental health related condition part of the list is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While this is also quite common, it’s the only accepted one for the public.
Hopefully if anxiety gets approved, it’ll also get the public’s understanding and respect it deserves.
There would be lesser stigma with regards to mental health, if not none at all. All the residents have to do is wait and hope that it might get approved anytime soon.
Current Medical Marijuana Program
Now, the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania is still up and booming. It’s been gaining momentum for the past months and the industry is slowly making its way to become a billion-dollar industry.
As mentioned, 21 conditions are currently included in the list and there are over 100,000 patients part of the program. Dispensaries are charged with $5,000 for their applications and $10,000 for grower/processor applications.
Licenses for dispensaries are also charged at $30,000 for each location while processors/growers are charged at $200,000. More than just that, 5% tax gets added on top of dispensary sales. Each patient will pay for $50 to get their medical marijuana identification card. If these patients are going through financial hardships, they can ask to waive their fees at the advice of the board.
What’s also good about the program is that the state will not charge you if you bring medical marijuana you bought from other states. They can freely buy marijuana from states where it is legal and bring it back to their state.
PA’s medical marijuana program isn’t as close-minded as it is in other states. Lawmakers are open to expansions, only when they’re fit for the law. For as long as residents abide the rules and no one abuses the legalization, it’s not going to be a problem.
While residents are waiting for summer to arrive, they’re hoping and praying that the expansion will push through. It’s not just going to benefit the possible patients, but it’s also going to add revenue to the state. More patients will register and more medical marijuana products will be sold.