pennsylvania marijuana legislature
Medical Marijuana Policy

Pennsylvania House Health Committee Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

pennsylvania marijuana legislatureThe Pennsylvania State House Health Committee voted unanimously on Friday to approve SB 3, which would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to access medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. The bill will now go to the House Rules Committee for further consideration.

The vote follows the filing of a discharge petition by Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) that would have removed SB 3 from the Health Committee where it had stalled and put it before the full House for a vote.

“While it is a relief that SB 3 is no longer stalled in the Health Committee, it is imperative that it promptly moves to the floor,” said Dr. Jeffrey Fogel, a retired pediatrician who has a debilitating neurologic condition causing bouts of extreme pain. “It’s been over eight months since the Senate first passed a medical cannabis bill. Pennsylvanians have needlessly suffered for far too long. We need relief now.”

“I want to be thrilled by Baker’s shocking reversal to move this bill out of his committee today, but after such fierce opposition to this bill I have to wonder if this is just another stall tactic being used to prevent us from getting medicine to our loved ones,” said Lolly Bentch, member of Campaign 4 Compassion, whose daughter has intractable epilepsy.

The Senate approved SB 3 by a vote of 40-7 on May 12. It would allow patients with serious medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of licensed, regulated dispensaries throughout the state. Smoking would not be permitted, but patients would be allowed to consume marijuana in edible form, and patients with certain conditions would be allowed to consume it through vaporization. To qualify, patients would need recommendations from their doctors. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he will sign a medical marijuana bill into law.

Nearly nine out of 10 Pennsylvania voters (88%) support medical marijuana, according to an April survey conducted by Quinnipiac University. Nine out of 10 Pennsylvania doctors would recommend medical marijuana to their patients, according to a 2013 survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted effective medical marijuana laws.

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Campaign for Compassion is a group of seriously ill patients and their loved ones, medical practitioners, and advocates that works to educate the public about the benefits of medical cannabis and to enact a comprehensive medical cannabis law in Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://www.campaign4compassion.com/

  • PhDScientist

    This is a good start but its only a start. Call, write, and email your Senators, Congress Reps, and call the Whitehouse comment line at (202) 456-1111.

    Ask that Congress pass the CARERS act and that the President direct the Attorney General to remove Marijuana from Schedule 1. Medical Marijuana is a “Wonder Drug” and a “Gift from God” for every Cancer Patent that undergoes Chemotherapy. Every minute of every day yet another American dies of Cancer after suffering horribly — its a horrible way to die. Every single Cancer Patient deserves the right to have safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana — Every single one!

  • Mark Walters

    The bill was not approved by the Health Committee. It was re-referred to a different committee by a unanimous vote.

  • Representative Baker, (Chair of the Health Committee) did the best he could, with the resources that were made available to him. Having taken the time to read a selection of legislation that goes thru his committee, I find that Mr. Baker approaches his job with integrity and seriousness. I may not agree with the totality of his approach; however – that is an issue now best left to his constituents, or the Speaker of the House, who appoints the house health committee chair, the Honorable Mike Turzai. Citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – let us now turn our attention to the House Rules Committee.

    • Brogino G.

      When you say ‘Rep. Baker did the best he could’ do you mean he was successful in denying thousands of people medicine that would allow them relief from pain and joy in life so that he could continue to receive massive contributions from large pharmaceutical companies that have obvious ulterior motives? If so, then yes, yes he did indeed do the best he could before his blatant corruption was circumvented.

      • Trying to be fair to the Honorable Representative Baker, on the issue of medical cannabis is trying, to be sure. However, I have taken the time to read what is publicly available on our Commonwealth representatives; specifically, Mr. Baker. He did perform his due diligence; and of course along the way – I spotted one or few errors in judgement. I might not agree with his self imposed limitations – on his specific approach to fact finding – and I laud the time the chair allowed SB3 to languish in committee. Commonwealth citizens all have to work with within the limits of our innate ability; learned or otherwise. And we citizens – we have to work with the hand that we dealt ourselves. Fortunately, from gleaning on blogs, similar to yours, I get a sense of satisfaction knowing that SB3 holds more promise than a 5% chance of becoming law.

    • metalbuoy

      Baker didnt do anyone any favors. He is terrible.. my weed stash is getting low so I need something to pass NOW before i have to drive to da hood and re-up!!!!

      • You must be confusing recreational marijuana with medical cannabis. The THC level in medical cannabis is too low. As for our Representatives, they are there to do a job proscribed by your constitution. That, by law, does not include doing anyone any “favors”.

        • metalbuoy

          Yeah the constitution means sooooo much anymore.. america is a scam.

          • I kinda get, that too. How in some cases, the Constitution of the United States has been transformed over the years. However the constitution I was referring to is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And although I’d be the first to admit I’ve read the Ul.S. Constitution; I haven’t read the entire Magna Carta of PA,…just yet.

          • metalbuoy

            So I can assume you live in bakers district and voted for him? To each his own. But baker left the constituents behind. This coming from a former conservative now libertarian. Go rand or Bernie!! A clinton/bush race we ALL lose.

          • Thanks for replying. No, I’m not a constituent in Mr. Baker’s district. However, I am certain that I’ve made my whopper share of goobers when I’ve voted, in the past. Who hasn’t? And, since you’ve mentioned your political leanings, I might as well weigh mine in. Republican to Democrat to Republican and to Libertarian. Almost a Conservative, once, after reading a book or few – but decided that there were too many Conservative values that kept me from adopting the movement to make it a political homestead. My Republican registration ended when the National Committee sent me some literature that was well beyond belief. As for Mr. Baker’s current standing – he may have passed SB3 out of committee to the Rules committee – readers should be aware that Mr. Baker is on the Rules committee, as well. Another standing member – who is also speaker of the house resides on the Rules committee. I suggest focus on publicly available voting records of the speaker, and committee leadership on the current issue before us.

    • 20 days have passed…Senate Bill 3 has been moved out of Representative Bakers’ Health Committee, and onto the Rules Committee. The Rules Committee Chairman is an advocate. Mr. Baker, however, and the Speaker of the House, that appointed him to chair the health committee, are on the Rules Committee. A rational political approach to engage, will be to ask these two legislators to recuse themselves from their present role – so that the Commonwealth may facilitate and regulate the affairs of medical cannabis.

  • Ron Boyles

    No matter what you feel about this, the reasons for it being illegal make absolutely no sense, medical/recreational use. A commonwealth that still controls the booze? The majority of residents WANT this legal and it’s taking sooooo long. I call bs! It’s just downright sad what some are going through.

  • michael

    Look at Colorado with legalization of medical cannabis. There crime rate went down dramatically, and there income for the state went up. Pennsylvania will always be in debt and arresting people for cannabis but yet prescribe harsher drugs that are addicting and killing people. Thats why people will leave this state to go to a state willing to help and who understands how medical cannabis helps more then hurts.cannabis is far from being a gate way drug but prescription pain killers on the other hand lead to everything else. But that’s OK let’s keep getting people addicted to pain killers instead of healing people with cannabis which has been proven to help