Today, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the Medical Marijuana Act (SB 3) into law, making Pennsylvania the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. This tremendous victory was made possible through the hard work of families, advocates, and lawmakers.
SB 3 will allow patients with qualifying conditions to use and safely access medical marijuana. Once applications are available from the Department of Health, eligible patients whose doctors recommend cannabis will be able to obtain identification cards. The law allows for up to 150 dispensary locations across the state.
When dispensaries open, medical marijuana will be available as pills, oils, gels, creams, ointments, tinctures, and liquids. Vaporization is allowed but smoking is initially prohibited. Dispensaries cannot sell edibles, but medical cannabis products can be mixed into food or drinks. Dry leaf/flower is not allowed immediately but the Department of Health can change that following an advisory board report two years after enactment. For more details, visit MPP’s summary of the Medical Marijuana Act.
Almost a year after the Pennsylvania Senate first approved SB 3, the General Assembly is finally sending the medical marijuana legislation to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.
SB 3 will create a comprehensive, compassionate medical marijuana program that allows patients with certain serious conditions access to medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendation. Medical marijuana will be dispensed through a well-regulated system of state authorized grower/processors and up to 150 dispensary locations. While the bill still contains some flaws, it is one of the stronger bills to make it through a legislature, and is a particularly impressive bill in light of the strong opposition it faced from Speaker Mike Turzai and Health Committee Chair Matt Baker.
If you’d like to know more about SB 3, details are available here.
Congratulations to all of the remarkable advocates and compassionate lawmakers who fought tirelessly to make this program a reality.
After years of advocacy from patients and their loved ones, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved compassionate, comprehensive medical cannabis legislation this evening!
SB 3 will now return to the Senate, which approved the bill last May, to consider the House’s amendments. Gov. Tom Wolf has been a strong champion of the issue and will sign the legislation when it arrives at his desk.
SB 3 allows patients with qualifying conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis with their physicians’ recommendations. As amended by the House, it allows up to 25 growers and processors to produce medical cannabis, which would be dispensed by up to 50 dispensaries with up to three locations each.
Qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, seizures, autism, sickle cell anemia, and intractable pain if conventional therapies or opiates don’t work or are contraindicated. More details are available here.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard for so long to make this compassionate bill a reality, including the amazing team at Campaign4Compassion, the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp, Gov. Tom Wolf, Sens. Mike Folmer and Daylin Leach and their staff, especially MP Tomei, Reps. Mike Regan, Nick Miccarelli, Russ Diamond, and Joe Petrarca and staffer Sarah Speed, Majority Leader Dave Reed, and MPP’s lobbyist Jim Davis!
Just a few weeks ago, medical cannabis legislation seemed hopelessly stalled in the Pennsylvania House. Thanks to the efforts of advocates, Rep. Nick Miccarelli, and overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, there is strong momentum for passage of effective medical marijuana legislation. While it’s a relief the House is finally moving, it’s important for legislators to hear their constituents want the bill to be patient-focused.
As events unfold and legislative strategies are explored, it is important that representatives understand the key components to creating the best possible legislation for seriously ill Pennsylvanians. The most effective legislation, whether it’s SB 3 or a House bill, will allow doctors and patients to decide together from the broadest range of possible strains and will ensure that no matter where a patient lives in the state he or she will have access to these treatments. It’s also vital that the bill include patients with all the serious symptoms that cannabis can alleviate — including severe pain and PTSD.