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Medical Marijuana gets Green Light

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP — Parents can now legally buy medical marijuana for children in PA if they get a letter from the state. It’s the first legal a...

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- Parents can now legally buy medical marijuana for children in PA if they get a letter from the state.

It's the first legal access to the medicine for patients since the law went into effect in May.

Patients and parents have waited a long time for this chance to try marijuana to treat 17 different serious illnesses.

Now, even as Pennsylvania moves toward regulating medical marijuana and ultimately dispensing it in state, there is a way to get it legally.

When Governor Tom Wolf signed medical marijuana into law in April. It started the ball rolling on making the drug available to certain patients across the Commonwealth. They could use medical marijuana to treat several conditions including epilepsy, autism, and cancer.

But before the regulations are in place and dispensaries up and running the first chance to try the treatment is here.

"It’s a huge relief. Huge relief," said Judy Chernavage of Wilkes-Barre Township.

We first met Chernavage last year when the state was considering legalizing medical marijuana. Her 11-year-old daughter, Lila, suffers from seizures and Judy calls medical marijuana the last resort treatment.

"She spent the summer in bed, hasn’t been able to do things she enjoys, no swimming no parks," she said.

Judy and parents in similar situations can now apply for a Safe Harbor letter from the state needing only a criminal background check and a form filled out by a doctor. Once the state issues the Safe Harbor letter, they can get medical marijuana in pill form or oil for their children .

"Try it, see if it works, and finally get it available to her immediately."

Right now getting medical marijuana for children with serious illnesses won’t be as easy as just going to the local drug store. Parents or legal guardians will have to obtain that safe harbor letter then go out-of-state to get that medicine and bring it back.

"I’m willing to travel as far as I have to go for her," said Chernavage.

For the time being, some doctors in our area will not be giving children legal access to medical marijuana. The area's largest health care provider, Geisinger, said:

We recognize there may be potential use for such products; however, there is insufficient evidence at this time to make any definitive conclusions.

Lila Chernavage's physician is not part of the Geisinger network. Her mother is hopeful that the doctor will help Lila get access to medical marijuana.

As for when medical marijuana will be available here in Pennsylvania that could be another two years.

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