2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

In June 2021 Governor Wolf authorized a continuation of the state’s COVID emergency measures through September. Just a week later, he signed HB 1024 which made curbside pickup a permanent fixture and allowed cannabis retailers to register employees as caregivers for the purposes of delivery. HB 1024 also included a measure to increase the amount of cannabis a patient can buy at a given time from 30 days to 90 days and a provision to provide financial assistance to low-income patients. Language that would’ve allowed for patients over 21 to grow up to five mature cannabis plants at home was unfortunately excluded from the final bill.

Pennsylvania saw a year of steady growth in patient enrollment. Since our last report, the state has gained over 46,000 new patients, a 15% increase. Pennsylvania is now one of five states with over 300,000 patients.

ASA recommends that the state focus their 2022 legislative efforts on expanding patient access, ensuring sufficient medical cannabis products are available, and working to reduce product costs. One strategy Pennsylvania should consider is to allow home cultivation of medical cannabis for able- bodied patients, which can dramatically reduce costs and ensure ongoing availability of medicine.

The state should also consider expanding the volume of licensed cultivators, manufacturers, testing laboratories and medical retail facilities to safeguard against supply shortages and improve patient access, as well as authorize delivery. Other program modifications to consider include organizing patient legal protections related to housing, as well as improving training requirements for facility staff. Finally, ASA recommends permanently maintaining the new access and telehealth enhancements under COVID, which greatly improve patient access and reduce patient cost burdens.