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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PENNSYLVANIA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM

Pennsylvania passed the “MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT” (“Act 16”) in April 2016, permitting growers/processors and dispensaries to provide medical marijuana for patients with serious medical conditions specified in Act 16. The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana oversees the implementation and regulation of growers/processors, dispensaries, registered physicians and practitioners (medical professionals working at dispensaries), patients and caregivers. The regulations may be revised by the Department of Health in April 2018 or later.

Notwithstanding the passage of Act 16 in Pennsylvania, the cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, sale, distribution, dispensation and possession of marijuana (also known as cannabis) violates federal law. The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, 21 U.S.C. Section 801, et. Seq (1970) (“The Controlled Substances Act”), categorizes marijuana as a ‘Schedule I’ controlled substance. Schedule I drugs are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and a high potential for abuse. As such, while users, growers/processors and dispensaries of medical marijuana that comply with Act 16 are protected from state criminal prosecution, their activities remain illegal under The Controlled Substances Act and other related federal statutes and regulations.

Because of the discrepancy between Pennsylvania and federal laws, the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) has provided below a list of frequently asked questions to assist patients and caregivers with information about medical marijuana and their legal rights.*

* The information contained below is for general communication only. The application and impact of Pennsylvania and federal laws can differ extensively based on the particular facts involved. Given the changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, as well as the ability of the ACBA to update the information below in a timely manner, delays, omissions or inaccuracies may exist in the information contained herein. As such, this information is provided with the understanding that no member of the ACBA, nor the ACBA itself or any of its employees, is herein engaged in providing legal advice. Before making any decision or taking any action, the reader should consult a legal professional.

While every attempt has been made to safeguard that the information contained below was obtained from reliable sources, the ACBA is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for any results occuring from the use of this information. All information is provided "as is", with no guarantee as to its completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results occuring from the use of this information, and without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular use. The ACBA, any of its members, or their respective employees shall not in any way be liable to the reader or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information provided herein. References made to certain links in the information provided connect to other websites providing additional relevant information. Such websites are maintained by third parties, unrelated to the ACBA, and as such, the ACBA makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of the additional information contained in those websites.