New Medical Marijuana Act

On April 17, 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed The Medical Marijuana Act into law.  It went into effect thirty days from the date of signing, May 17, 2016.

On June 25, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (the “Department”) released temporary guidelines that allow parents, guardians, or caregivers to apply for a “Safe Harbor Letter.”  This letter permits the administration of medical marijuana lawfully obtained in another state and brought back to the Commonwealth.  The Department recommends the letter be carried whenever the parent or caregiver transports medical marijuana outside of the home.  An application to obtain a “Safe Harbor” Letter can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.

On November 4, 2016, the Department issued guidance to schools and school districts to assist them in developing policies for the administration of medical marijuana on school district property. The Department recommended that medical marijuana be administered by a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver while their child/student is on school grounds, provided: 1.) that the parent, legal guardian, or caregiver provides the building principal with a copy of the above-referenced “Safe Harbor Letter”; and 2.) notifies the building principal, in advance, of each instance on which the parent or caregiver will administer medical marijuana to their child/student. Additionally, the parent or caregiver would be required to follow all school protocols applicable to visitors to the school. The Department also indicated that schools must require the individual administering the medical marijuana to promptly remove any excess medical marijuana and other paraphernalia from school grounds following their administration of medical marijuana to their child or student. Importantly, students would be prohibited from possessing any form of medical marijuana at any time.

The Departments cautioned that the above-referenced guidance is to remain in effect until the Pennsylvania Department of Education establishes regulations governing possession and use of medical marijuana in schools.  Until such time as the Department of Education establishes regulations, please contact one of our School Law attorneys if you any questions regarding the new Medical Marijuana Act, or if you need any assistance revising or drafting applicable board policies.


Alfred C. Maiello
Alfred Maiello

Alfred C. Maiello is the founding member of MBM and has represented area school districts as solicitor for 50 years. He counsels school districts and educational institutions on leading developments in school law and guiding them through their day-to-day and long-term challenges.