Pennsylvania is gearing up for full implementation of its medical marijuana law early next year, but significant questions still remain about exactly what that will look like for patients and businesses.

Some of those questions have to do with the fact that medical marijuana is a new market here, and Pennsylvania’s law differs in varying degrees from those in other states.

Pennsylvania’s law allows some forms of medical marijuana, but not smoking, for patients with certain medical conditions.

Other questions revolve around the fact that federal law, which currently is not being enforced very strictly, says all forms of marijuana are illegal.

Here are some of the key issues facing patients and businesses.

Will insurance cover medical marijuana?

The law says it doesn’t have to, and observers say that probably means it won’t.

“If an insurance company is given an opportunity not to provide coverage, more often than not it’s going to go that route,” said attorney Bill Roark, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s medical marijuana and hemp law committee.

Dr. James Rochester of WorkNet Occupational Medicine in Lancaster agreed, but said that could change “if the economics of it make sense for insurers.”

Speaking at a Lancaster Chamber event in December, attorney Jonathan Spadea of The Chartwell Law Offices in Harrisburg said self-insured companies might consider covering medical marijuana for certain conditions if it could be significantly cheaper than very expensive prescription drugs their employees are currently using.

Charles R. Dielmann, a broker at Horst Insurance in Manheim Township, had a similar perspective, saying he thinks the federal approach will change and insurers will cover medical marijuana when it benefits them to do so — but that

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