A medical marijuana clinic serving the Alle-Kiski Valley is scheduled to open June 7 on Freeport Road in Harrison.

The opening will mark the sixth statewide location for Compassionate Certification Centers, which also has offices in Pittsburgh and Butler. The Harrison location will be at the existing offices of NP3 North Pittsburgh Pain Physicians, 2130 Freeport Road.

Dr. Randall Barrett, an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, will be the lead physician.

“For years we were left with few treatment options for pain management other than opioids,” he said in a press release Wednesday. “With the opioid epidemic now facing us, medical cannabis could not have come along at a better time.”

Gov. Tom Wolf signed a medical marijuana bill into law in April 2016. Dispensaries opened in February.

Under state law, patients can apply for a state-issued medical marijuana card if a doctor certifies they have one of 21 qualified medical conditions, including epilepsy, cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders.

Qualified patients with a doctor’s recommendation will receive a Pennsylvania medical marijuana identification card, allowing the purchase of medical marijuana from an authorized state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.

Dispensaries are also allowed to sell equipment, such as vaping devices for liquid forms, to administer medical marijuana.

Marijuana remains classified federally as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the same category as heroin, meaning dispensaries cannot be reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. Because of the federal classification, the Pennsylvania market operates on a cash basis, without insurance.

More than 35,000 patients are registered for Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Last month, Pennsylvania’s health secretary, Dr. Rachel Levine, approved a state advisory board’s recommendation to allow medical marijuana as a treatment for opioid abuse.

Source: Ben Schmitt, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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