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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of September 4, 2017

Column: Medical Cannabis Update
One of my proudest accomplishments in the Pennsylvania Senate was passage of Act 16 of 2016, which will bring medical cannabis to Pennsylvania.

My goal in this endeavor has been – and continues to be – giving patients and their families one more arrow in their quivers to battle diseases and serious medical conditions.

Much has been accomplished in the 16 months since my legislation was signed into law: safe harbor letters were issued to parents and caregivers for children under 18 to begin to immediately receive medical cannabis, 12 of the 25 permits for grower-processors have been awarded, 27 of the 50 dispensary permits have been chosen, the required electronic tracking system has been developed, and regulations have been issued to bring physicians and other medical professionals into the program.

Much remains to be accomplished, including regulations for the to-be-established research through Pennsylvania’s medical schools, a key component of the law that I believe will make our Commonwealth a leader in medical cannabis studies.

While I have sometimes doubted the ability of the Pennsylvania Department of Health to meet the deadlines they’ve established for implementation of the medical cannabis program, they have met each and every one and appear to be on track for getting medicine to patients in 2018. I appreciate all the work the staff has done to move forward and I thank the Governor for making this a top priority from the very beginning.

When Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program is up and running, patients with one of 17 medical conditions listed in the law will be able to receive certifications from medical marijuana practitioners who determine that patient would benefit from the use of medical cannabis. Patients receiving these certifications will apply to the Department of Health for an identification card and after paying a $50 processing fee they (or their caregiver) will be able to take their certification and ID to a permitted dispensary to receive medical cannabis.

To become a medical marijuana practitioner, physicians will need to take a four-hour training course and be listed on a registry with the Department of Health. The Department is currently working to provide for these courses.

The list of 17 medical conditions may be expanded by the to-be-created Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, which will include members knowledgeable and experienced in issues relating to the care and treatment of people with serious medical conditions, geriatric or pediatric medicine, or clinical research. One member will be a patient or a family member of a patient or a patient advocate.

In addition to making recommendations to change, add, or reduce the types of medical conditions in the law, the Advisory Board will also make recommendations on the form of medicine permitted by the law, the number of grower-processor and dispensary permits, the use of whole plant, and the forms of administration of the medicine.

Passing the medical cannabis law was a bipartisan effort and its implementation has been equally bipartisan. An in-depth review of the process used to award the initial permits and the rollout of the program will be continuing areas I will be following closely in the weeks and months ahead.

In the interim, I want to thank everyone again for the hard work and effort to ensure Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program will benefit patients and their families and make our Commonwealth a leader in both implementation and research.

Hometown Hero Jared Kreiser & WellSpan Wound Healing Center Cable Show
My September Community Report Cable Show featuring US Marine Corps CPL Jared Kreiser, of the 2/3 3rd Marine Division, wounded in action October 7, 2006 in Al Anbar, Iraq and the Lebanon WellSpan Wound Healing Center’s hyperbaric chamber therapy is ready to view! Watch Jared’s heroic story and the incredible benefits the hyperbaric chamber provided to help him heal after 36 surgeries, and the benefits it can offer to so many in our community. The show is also on my website, and Comcast On Demand and WHBG TV 20 should also be airing through the month of September.

September 2017 - WellSpan Wound Healing Center & Hometown Hero Jared Kreiser

Old Orchard Road Bridge, Springettsbury Township, Closed for Replacement
The structurally deficient bridge between Stonewood Rd. and Locust Grove Rd. that carries Old Orchard Rd. (SR 2013) over a tributary to Kreutz Creek in Springettsbury Twp., York Co., is closed to traffic for a bridge replacement project. Traffic is detoured by way of Witmer Rd. (SR 2013), Freysville Rd. (SR 2001), East Prospect Rd. (Route 124) and Locust Rd. (SR 2015). The project is scheduled to be complete by late October.

East Canal Road Bridge, Conewago Township, Reopened to Traffic
The East Canal Rd. (Route 921) bridge, across Locust Run in Conewago Twp., York Co., reopened to traffic on August 23, 30 days ahead of schedule. The bridge was replaced as part of PennDOT’s Rapid Bridge Replacement Project and can now be removed from the structurally deficient bridge list. The new crossing is longer and wider than the one it replaced, and is designed with a 100-year lifespan.


Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.

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