Pennsylvania officials will soon be required to disclose how many of the state’s medical cannabis patients are certified under their respective state licensing requirements, according to Spotlight PA. It would be the first time the state has disclosed this information and does so only by order of the Office of Open Records, which this month ruled in favor of Spotlight PA as the news organization seeks information on how many medical cannabis patients are living in Pennsylvania for one Enrolled Opioid Use Disorder.
The state health department refused to provide the information, citing the state medical cannabis law to protect patient and care information. However, the Open Records Office rejected the argument that the publication of patient data would violate the statutory confidentiality rules.
Spotlight PA is seeking the information in its coverage of a Bucks County man who was wrongly denied addiction treatment funding for participating in the state’s medical cannabis program. The man died of a drug overdose a few weeks after the denial.
While Spotlight PA’s appeal against the rejection was pending, the Office of Open Records approved a request from another organization, CNHI, seeking information on how medical cannabis patients lived in each district of the state. The data showed that more than 50,000 patients in any of 29 rural counties live without a pharmacy.
Spotlight PA received numbers of the number of medical cannabis patients enrolled in New York and New Jersey for an opioid use disorder. In New Jersey, more than 2,200 patients were enrolled for the disease in July, according to a spokesman for the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. in New York there are more than 2,100 by July.
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TG joined Ganjapreneur in 2014 as a news writer and began hosting the Ganjapreneur podcast in 2016. He lives in New York State, where he also teaches media studies at a local university.