The Pennsylvania Department of Health has expanded its financial assistance program for state medical marijuana patients. The program includes waiving annual fees for eligible patients enrolled in financial hardship programs such as SNAP, Medicaid and WIC.
The state said it also plans to distribute cash benefits to eligible patients, reports TribLive.
“The department is pleased to be able to expand assistance to medical marijuana patients and caregivers who may be experiencing financial hardships,” said acting Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter. “Patients deserve to have access to their medicine to treat medical conditions and cost should not be a barrier.”
Program Rolled Out In 3 Phases
Act 44 of 2021 allowed state officials to create programs for providing relief to low-income medical marijuana patients. Consequently, Department of Health is implementing the new financial hardship program in three phases.
Phases 1 and 2, implemented March 1, are already complete, reports YourErie.com. Phase 1 eliminated an annual identification card fee for eligible participants. Phase 2, on the other hand, eliminated all background check fees for eligible caregivers already enrolled in a financial hardship program.
Both patients and caregivers in medical marijuana programs can register with the Pennsylvania financial hardship program to receive the benefits.
The Eligible Financial Hardship Programs Include:
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
- PACE Needs Enhancement Tier (PACENET)
- Women, Infants and Children program (WIC)
Phase 3 Will Distribute Cash To Pennsylvania Patients
When implemented, the third phase will distribute a to-be-determined monetary benefit amount to eligible patients.
That can pay for any medical Cannabis product purchased at Pennsylvania dispensaries.
The program doesn’t include smoking devices and accessories.
More Than 729K Patients In Pennsylvania
As of Feb. 24, 2022, more than 729,000 patients and caregivers had registered for the Pennsylvania medical marijuana program. They are thus eligible to obtain Cannabis for one of 23 serious medical conditions,, reports ABC 27 News. More than 1,700 Pennsylvania physicians have gained approval to give medical marijuana authorizations.
One hundred fifty-five dispensaries are open and dispensing products to authorized patients. Thirty-three grower/processors are operational. Twenty-eight of those are shipping medical marijuana products to dispensaries throughout Pennsylvania.