Pennsylvania: Medical Cannabis Measure Passes Major Hurdle

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 17, 2016

    wheelchair_patientAfter months of delay, members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives finally approved legislation to permit the production and use of medical marijuana products to qualified patients.

    House members decided yesterday in favor of an amended version of Senate Bill 3. The measure passed by a vote of 149 to 43.

    The amended bill permits state officials to license up to 25 marijuana cultivators and up to 25 dispensaries to provide cannabis products to qualified patients who possess a recommendation from select physicians. Qualifying conditions eligible to receive cannabis therapy include chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, epilepsy, and inflammatory bowel disease, among others. The measure permits for the dispensing of herbal cannabis via vaporization, as well as the use of marijuana-infused extracts or oils, but it does not permit smoking.

    Because the House-amended legislation differs from the version initially approved by the Senate, the bill must be re-approved by the Senate or it will be negotiated in conference committee. Governor Tom Wolf supports patients’ access to medical cannabis and has pledged to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.

    Derek Rosenzweig of PhillyNORML, which has been lobbying on behalf of medical cannabis access legislation since 2009, said: “This is a historic day in Pennsylvania. Hopefully during concurrence they can fix some of the flaws in the bill.”

    Once signed into law, Pennsylvania will become the 24th state to permit the use of physician-recommended cannabis.

    18 responses to “Pennsylvania: Medical Cannabis Measure Passes Major Hurdle”

    1. PoeticLife420 says:

      Am doing the “happy, happy, joy, joy” dance! finally movement happening. (trying not to think about how long it will take to be up and running smoothly) My concerns are how “accessible” dispensaries and approved M.D.’s will be if in a rural area.
      I still will keep wishing that they’d simply Legalize it already & Reform the (In)Justice System and get it right for everyone!!!

      Free the plant!!
      …………..and back to the Senate we gooooooo!!

      • RoyBoy says:

        A very small step in the right direction. Big pharma still has its paws in it. It’s been over 20 years since the first state did it. Haven’t we learned a lot since? I should be able to grow a few of my own.

    2. Denny E Strausser Jr says:

      I have been paying attention to this bill for a long time. I am glad to see it is probably going to succeed. It is a step in the right direction, as I hope decriminalization will be next. I hope it won’t be long, until they allow smoking next.

      There’s still a bill, which died, but is not forgotten. Maybe, we can get that one someplace now. I would like to see that.

      Thank You Tom Wolf.

    3. Kim Kehs says:

      I’ve had intensive intestinal operations I can’t gain weight without marijuana. The only way it makes me hungry is to smoke. I HOPE the oil might work? This is a start but I still don’t understand why I can’t have my medicine the way I know it helps!!
      Kim Kehs

    4. Mark Mitcham says:

      Congratulations, PA patients! …if that’s not premature. Your medicine is about to become a hell of a lot more legal, and that’s great.

      But, hash and oils are okay, but smoking pot is still illegal? You can only vaporize weed, can’t smoke it? Am I reading that right? Maybe that is one of the “flaws” Derek is referring to.

      Still a lot of hostility to the natural plant as medicine. Smacks of Corporatism, doesn’t it? Still can’t make a profit off a weed that grows freely just about anywhere, given the chance!

      Still, a big step in the right direction!

      • Denny Strausser Jr says:

        “Still, a big step in the right direction!”
        Pretty much our Governor here has said the same kind of thing. I believe he wants to see smoking allowed too, but has promised to pass this just the same.

        There’s also a dead bill for recreational cannabis, and the passing of this bill makes me wonder if they will try again to pass it.

      • mexweed says:

        Can we persuade the Penn Senate reapprovers to reassess the definition of VAPORIZING so that the easy-learn technique for vaporizing with a flexdrawtube one-hitter is acknowledged and the one-hitter accordingly classified as a vaporizer rather than a smoking utensil (which it can be if you ignorantly hurriedly ignite)?

        Please go to inadequately named Wikipedia “One-hitter (smoking)” article, sign in and add your expressive photo showing the proper low positioning of the lighter flame, etc.

        • Denny E Strausser Jr says:

          I don’t know how much influence I can actually make there. I do have a Wikipedia account, but have very little on it.

          My question was an opinion, which I was hoping to get. And I hope a lot that they will try to reintroduce that bill again.

          I do know about vaporizers. I don’t know if they’ll legalize that yet or not. Probably in the future. Just never know when. It is still a step in the right direction.

          I do know what you are saying, and you are right. 😉

    5. Julian says:

      Classic example of how hard determination at the local level, citizen lobbying and cooperation between patient advocates and the medical marijuana industry can save us from allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good improvement to state law; even in states that do not have voter initiatives!

      Good job Pennsylvania.

    6. Mark I. says:

      Good luck with the election year flip flop

    7. Debora Varner says:

      FINALLY! Hopefully there will be availability where I live. All I know is that I need all the help I can get with my pain!!!!!! Yeah PA for having some common sense.

    8. Evening Bud says:

      I wanted to post a comment earlier, but decided to wait until a few PA residents posted first. It does appear that this is a very good step. And if so, I’m glad for those residents of PA who will benefit from MMJ. One more block from the wall of prohibition has been removed.

    9. I live in Ohio but am so happy for my neighboring state.Hopefully they can get it going and not have to wait for years to implement it.People want and deserve their Meds NOW!

    10. Matthew says:

      Don’t overlook that SB50, PA’s firstmost hemp legalization bill, also passed the State Senate, UNANIMOUSLY, same week! Hit up the State Reps, full force: it’s headi.g right into the State House now…

      [Paul Armentano responds: Indeed, folks can support the hemp bill here: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51046/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15367.%5D