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!
On Tuesday, a group of Pennsylvania lawmakers, patients, and their families gathered at the State Capitol to demand swift action from the legislature in moving a medical marijuana bill that has been stalled for months.
[caption id="attachment_9203" align="alignright" width="250"] Julie Michaels, front left, of Connellsville, and Jessica Hawkins, right, of Pittsburg, look on as Hawkins' son Lucciano, 2, right center, gives a hug to Michaels' daughter Sydney, 5, left center, as supporters gather at the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building to promote the legalization of medical cannabis in Harrisburg, Pa. on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Dawn J. Sagert - York Dispatch[/caption]
The Patriot-News reports:
But the effort, which supporters insist easily has enough votes to pass, now seems caught up in delays and stalling tactics, according to supporters who rallied Tuesday at the state Capitol.
One of the supporters was state Rep. Mike Regan, R-York County, a former federal law enforcement officer who said he represents a highly conservative district, and hasn't received a single call of opposition from a constituent.
"This has got to stop being about politics and it has to start being about people," he said. "I will not stop fighting until this is law."
Regan also noted he spent much of his career arresting drug dealers. He said he is convinced medical marijuana is a safe and valuable medication, and won't become a gateway to illegal drugs and more illegal drug use in Pennsylvania.
A medical marijuana bill introduced by state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County passed 40-7 in the Senate in May. In the House, leaders in early summer created a group to draft a bill that would pass the Republican-controlled House.
Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf has come out strongly in favor of medical marijuana and has said he will sign a bill.
If you are a Pennsylvania resident and are tired of waiting for the legislature to enact compassionate, effective medical marijuana legislation, please contact your lawmakers and let them know the time to act is now.
For the second time in a year, the Pennsylvania Senate has overwhelmingly voted to allow seriously ill patients to use and safely access medical cannabis. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he’d sign medical marijuana legislation, so only one piece of the puzzle remains: the House of Representatives.
If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please call your state representative right now to ask him or her to support a compassionate, comprehensive medical marijuana bill.
It will take just a minute of your time to make a call, but it will make a huge impact. Legislators often mistakenly believe that supporting humane marijuana policies is politically risky. This couldn’t be further from the truth — voters overwhelmingly support medical marijuana protections.
SB 3 would allow registered patients to use medical cannabis and to safely access it from regulated dispensaries. To qualify, patients must have an approved medical condition, such as cancer, seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, wasting syndrome, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, or chronic pain. The Senate approved adding vaporization to the bill, but only for cancer, seizures, and PTSD.
The bill is more limited than we would like in some areas, but it is a dramatic improvement over the status quo.
Democrat Tom Wolf will be the new governor of Pennsylvania after defeating Republican Gov. Tom Corbett Tuesday night.
In the months leading up to the vote, polls showed Wolf to be up by double digits against Corbett. After all the ballots were counted, Wolf emerged the victor, 55-45.
Wolf’s victory may now determine the fate of marijuana policy in the state of Pennsylvania. Mr. Wolf supports allowing medical access to marijuana for patients with debilitating conditions whose physicians recommend it. He is also in favor of reducing the criminal penalties associated with the possession of small amounts of marijuana to civil penalties.
“Decriminalization would stop destruction of families and lives; stop overcrowding in prison; stop distortion of our economy,” he said in a PennLive interview, noting that decriminalization would extend job opportunities to people denied employment because of prior convictions.
On medical marijuana “what is motivating me is people I know with children with diseases that could be treated with medical marijuana. My goal is to create a system where they don’t feel like they need to go to another state to make their child whole,” he said.
Now that Wolf is governor, there are high hopes that medical marijuana, as well as the decriminalization of marijuana, will be implemented statewide.
As reported by PennLive.com, Sen. Daylin Leach has asked the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association not to prosecute offenses related to the medical use of marijuana.
“Given the likelihood that using lifesaving medical cannabis will not be a legal issue in Pennsylvania for much longer, I ask that you consider using your prosecutorial discretion,” wrote Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, in a letter today to the association’s president, Peter Johnson.
Last month, the Senate approved SB 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act — a bill that would have established the rules and regulations governing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania — in a 43-7 bipartisan vote. However, despite overwhelming support, the bill ultimately failed to be taken up by the House.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Tom Wolf, has publicly stated that he supports medical marijuana legislation. Moreover, 80% of Pennsylvania voters support medical marijuana. Thusly so, there is reason to hope that the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association will refrain from prosecution of patients.
“I ask that you perform an act of compassion,” Leach wrote, adding that he hopes they will use their discretion by not prosecuting people who have demonstrated medical reason for using the substance.