Pennsylvania’s New Medical Marijuana Act

by J. Chadwick Schnee
Assistant Chief Counsel

On April 17, 2016, Governor Wolf signed Senate Bill 3, prime-sponsored by Senator Mike Folmer and also known as the Medical Marijuana Act, into law as Act 16 of 2016. Although the connection between medical marijuana and the Right-to-Know Law may not be obvious, the Medical Marijuana Act contains several provisions involving public access to records related to medical marijuana.

Section 302 of the Medical Marijuana Act, for example, states that all information obtained by the Pennsylvania Department of Health from patients, caregivers and applicants is confidential and not accessible under the Right-to-Know Law, including, among other things:

  • Individual identifying information about patients and caregivers;
  • Certifications issued by registered physicians;
  • Information on medical marijuana identification cards; and
  • Information related to an individual’s serious medical condition.

That same section of the Medical Marijuana Act, however, provides that certain types of information are explicitly public, including:

  • Applications for permits submitted by medical marijuana dispensaries and entities seeking to grow and process medical marijuana;
  • The names, business addresses and medical credentials of physicians registered under the Medical Marijuana Act; and
  • Penalty and disciplinary information against registered physicians, medical marijuana dispensaries, and entities authorized to grow and process medical marijuana.

Additionally, under Section 701, information contained within an electronic medical marijuana inventory tracking system related to the growing and sale of medical marijuana is not subject to public access.

Finally, the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board created by Section 1201 will be required to prepare a report analyzing the Medical Marijuana Act and making recommendations. That report, due in April 2018, will be available to the public.

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