Sparkt My Interest

Your Questions About Medical Marijuana Answered

Kelly talks to Theresa Nightingale, Deputy Director of the Pittsburgh Chapter for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and breaks down your biggest questions.

On this week's Sparkt My Interest, Kelly talks to Theresa Nightingale (@Dabinatrix), the Director of the Pittsburgh chapter of Norml, Community Outreach Coordinator of Pennsylvania for Cresco Labs, mother of three and cancer survivor. They discuss medical marijuana, how to get it and other questions you might have been afraid to ask.

What is Pittsburgh Norml?

It's the Pittsburgh branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law (NORML) , a national organization that fights for cannabis rights and reform. Theresa makes regular trips to Harrisburg to educate citizens and lawmakers on the importance of comprehensive reform. When she isn't in the state's capitol, you can find her at the Pennsylvania Education Center for Medical Marijuana , in the heart of the Strip District in Pittsburgh.

In an effort to demystify the confusing laws around marijuana, Kelly sat down with Theresa and asked her a series of questions that she'd always been too nervous to ask her doctor.

How do you get medical marijuana?

  1. Register on the Department of Health Website at www.MedicalMarijuana.Pa.Gov . But the site it known to be tricky, if you have any issues call or head down to the Pennsylvania Education Center for Medical Marijuana and Theresa will help you through it.
  2. Make a username and password, and get your Patient ID Number.
  3. Visit an approved doctor. Not all physicians are approved, and they have to take a 4-hour course. So if you're current doc is giving you a weird look when you start to ask about medical marijuana, it's probably not because they're against it. They just might not be certified. An up-to-date list of doctors down with medicinal mary jane is available on the Pennsylvania government official website .
  4. Log back into the site and pay a $50 fee. You'll get your card in the mail.

Can you just get a medical marijuana card... if you want to smoke?

We've all heard it. Your neighbor (wink) smokes recreationally and talks about getting a medical card to avoid any potential trouble with the law. But that couldn't be less correct.

Flower Bud, not covered by Act 16.

Medical Marijuana does not include smoking "flower bud" (like a joint, for example). According to Theresa, "If you get caught smoking, even if you bought it from a dispensary, you're not covered under the Act 16 Rights . But you can still vape it, eat it, or put it on your body. It just depends on your needs and a pharmacist will help you find what's right for you."

Is it like walking into a head shop?

No! It's more like a jewelry-store meets pharmacy, with some comfortable furniture to kick back on.

If you don't want to use medical marijuana, why should you care about this?

Even if you don't need, want, or have interest in medical marjuana, there is a good chance someone around you would deeply benefit from it. In Theresa's case, because she had cancer as a child, medical marijuana helped her get off opiates and other intense medications, improving her quality of life. And today because of the neuropathy in her hands and feet caused by the chemotherapy, she's prescribed Gabapentin . "But I have three kids. I cannot be looped out of my mind. I cannot be tired. Medical Marijuana is a better alternative for me."

What are your experiences with medical marijuana? Leave a comment below and tell us how it's affected you or use the hashtag #SparktMyInterest on social media.

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