Mar 282016
 March 28, 2016

pennsylvania marijuana legislatureEarlier this month the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a medical marijuana bill, and by a wide margin. The bill wasn’t perfect, but it was a good step in the right direction and was definitely something that reformers and patients had been pushing very hard for. With such a wide margin of passage (149-43) in the House, and a Governor stating that he would sign the bill once it got to his desk, it appeared that Pennsylvania was poised to become the most recent state to legalize medical marijuana.

However, it appears that there may be some snags in the Pennsylvania Senate. Some Senators are expressing concerns over some provisions of the bill, and if changes are made in the Senate, the bill would have to go back to the House for approval. As with just about any bill in any state, the more layers added to the process hurts momentum for passage. Per Philly Voice:

Building momentum to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, bolstered by an overwhelming 149-43 vote in the state House of Representatives, could be in jeopardy after several state senators raised concerns this week about the amended bill and the technical implementation of the program.

What originated as a 69-page bill in the Senate grew to 154 pages in the House of Representatives prior to the vote held earlier this month. While Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to sign the final legislation, senators including the bill’s co-sponsor, Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), say the revisions could prove so problematic as to derail its passage, according to The Morning Call.

Suffering patients in Pennsylvania deserve safe access. Doctors should be able to decide which patients would benefit from medical cannabis. Politicians should not be the only ones making that decision. If you live in Pennsylvania, now is the time to contact your Senator. Let them know how important it is that this bill passes. Remember to be respectful. I know this is an emotional issue, but it’s important to stay composed in order to be taken seriously by Senators and staffers.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
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  • Dan Casale

    These meds I have to take make me so sick!I don’t know what makes me sicker,my meds or this gang we have in the congress and the senate in this poor state of bullshit in the proud state of pa. I’m too old and beat up and poor to move to someware whare politics are less important then the people,GOD help me,God help us all!

  • Stel-1776

    I am glad that PA is finally moving forward with this. I thank the people who have worked hard on this. Some issues with the bill remain:

    -It will take 18-24 months to implement after it is signed into law. Meanwhile patients continue to needlessly suffer.

    -Only allows treatment for 17 serious conditions. The board can approve more conditions “Three years after the MM program commences”, meaning 4.5 to 5 years after signing.

    -Doctors are required to register with the state and complete a 4 hour course. Their information will likely be made public (possibly under the Right-To-Know Act). None of this is required for seriously harmful pharmaceuticals. This move will discourage most doctors from participating. New Jersey did the same thing which resulted in a low-turnout of physicians, and thereby a low turnout of patients using the program.

    -Growers/processors are required to have $2,000,000 in capital with $500,000 in the bank. There is a $200,000 initial fee and $10,000 application fee. This eliminates small businesses.

    -Initially no plant material can be sold and it cannot be smoked for any condition, or vaporized for most conditions. Studies have shown that various combinations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other naturally occurring compounds are more effective for various conditions. It is not fully understood which are most important, or how extraction methods may alter the natural balance of various strains.

    -Patients are not allowed to legally grow their own medicine, which would drastically reduce costs.

  • PeedNUrGenePool

    I would lay a baby, dying from epilepsy on their desk…and ask them how long they want it to suffer before they pass medical marijuana.