Updated 3:51 pm, Monday, April 16, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Patients in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program should be able to obtain the drug in dry leaf or flower form for vaporization by sometime this summer, the Wolf administration announced Monday.

Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said she was accepting that and other recommendations made recently by an advisory panel, including the addition of four medical conditions to the list of those qualified to use medical marijuana.

State law prevents dispensaries from selling marijuana that’s designed to be smoked, but consumer advocate Chris Goldstein has said patients who buy the dry leaf product are able to smoke it instead of vaporize it.

Levine said the option of dry leaf or flower form could make the drug cheaper to produce and less expensive for patients.

The Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project said the change will help the state’s patients.

“Producers will be able to get medicine into the hands of patients much more quickly and for much lower cost to patients,” said Becky Dansky, the group’s legislative counsel. “This is vitally important for patient access right now while the program is still getting off the ground and production is not yet at full capacity.”

Levine said she also was adopting the recommendation that children who need the drug be certified by a pediatrician, although she said it will take some time to implement because more pediatricians will need to be enrolled and trained.

She said physicians who want to be certified to prescribe medical marijuana can opt out of the list of doctors made available to the general public, but registered patients will have access to the full list.

Nearly 1,000 doctors have registered with the state, and more than half of them have been approved

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