Lancaster County could soon have a lot more doctors able to recommend medical marijuana for patients.
This week, dozens of local health care providers took a four-hour University of the Sciences course required to participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.
But it remains to be seen whether they go on to register with the Department of Health and join the 12 local doctors — many of them independent practitioners — who are currently participating in the program.
Under Pennsylvania law, every doctor who finishes the process and is approved to recommend medical marijuana for patients is included on a public list. However, inclusion on that list does not mean that doctors are accepting new patients.
Gail Groves Scott, manager of the university’s Substance Use Disorders Institute, said 85 people took the training Saturday. About a third were from Lancaster General Health, and about a third from Hospice & Community Care. The rest were other local clinicians and providers from places like Kennett Square and Harleysville.
Hospice sought course
Hospice initiated the request for the course in February, Scott said, and then Lancaster General Hospital agreed to host it so more people could attend.
It was, she said, the first time the the training was offered live on-site at a hospital in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Joan Harrold, vice president of medical services for Hospice & Community Care, said in an email that her organization does have a medical marijuana policy for its hospice and palliative care patients.
They may be certified to receive medical marijuana, she wrote, but only if the evidence base supports it, if they are ongoing patients and if they meet the state requirements, which limit use to people with at least one of 17