Pennsylvania: Lawmakers Give Final Approval To Medical Marijuana Measure

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 13, 2016

    oil_bottlesHouse and Senate lawmakers have signed off on legislation, Senate Bill 3, to permit the production and use of medical marijuana products to qualified patients.

    Members of the Senate initially approved the measure in 2015. House leadership delayed acting on the bill for several months until finally passing an amended version of SB 3 in March.

    Senate and House members voted this week in favor of a concurrent version of the proposal. The measure now goes before Gov. Tom Wolf, who supports patients’ access to medical cannabis and has pledged to sign the bill into law.

    Senate Bill 3 permits regulators to license up to 25 marijuana cultivators and processors, and up to 150 dispensary locations to provide cannabis products to qualified patients who possess a recommendation from select physicians. Qualifying conditions eligible to receive cannabis therapy include intractable pain, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cancer, seizure disorders, and autism, 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. (To date, only two other states — Minnesota and New York — impose similar restrictions regarding patients’ use of herbal cannabis.)

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

    31 responses to “Pennsylvania: Lawmakers Give Final Approval To Medical Marijuana Measure”

    1. Wade Rawluk says:

      This bill is a betrayal of the medical cannabis movement because it does not include the ability of people with all diseases and conditions to qualify like California and because it soes not allow smoking. Until there is a bill passed in Pensylvanis that allows for cannabis to be smoked by patients and allows for all patients to qualify like in California a true medical marijuana bill will not have been passed. To ask me to support this bill, which is a piece of trash, is to demand that I become a traitor. I will not support this bill and I will not become a traitor. Down with the vaporization of cannabis, up with the smoking of cannabis!

      • mexweed says:

        Your complaint is fair if Vaporization only means buying expensive rich guy equipment, fortunately you can Vaporize pretty good with a 25-mg single toke device (flexdrawtube oneheater)– see the free wiki article “12 Easy Ways to Make a Vape Toke Utensil from $1.29 Worth of Everyday Objects Left Lying Around in your Garage by Previous god”.

      • Julian says:

        So… The governor shouldn’t sign the bill Sunday? You do realize California has voter initiatives, and Pennsylvania does not. People really need to lighten up and realize there’s always room to improve these bills later; meanwhile let’s stop arresting the sick and the poor and TREAT the people who NEED cannabis NOW and legally!

      • TheOracle says:

        I empathize with the frustration of the Pennsylvania cannabis community, and as a Pennsylvania resident am frustrated by how narrowly this initial medicinal marijuana law has been written. It caves to prohibitionists, most notably to prohibitionist law enforcement, because as far as cannabis prohibition enforcement is concerned the dried, cured plant matter remains illegal. No budz! You aren’t permitted to vaporize plant material, and MUST buy their cannabis oil, not necessarily only cartridges, for a vaporizer.

        The Monty-Python-style wink-wink-say-no-more bit of the intent of the legislation making use of cannabis products from out of state, let’s say from Colorado, non-prosecutable so that, let’s say, kids with seizures can get their medicine right away, indicates a reciprocity with out-of-state MMJ doctors who wrote an MMJ recommendation for it. It’s pure lip service to mention you should wait the 18 months for PA to get up and running to be legal AND avoid transporting cannabis across state lines. That pre-supposes you’ll be able to find a Pennsylvania doctor who will jump through the law’s fiery hoops for you.

        Caving to the cops. You can’t grow your own. You can’t bring in any amount of vegetable matter from out of state. They’ll overlook tinctures and non-plant matter preparations recommended by an out-of-state doctor but not honor those that in another state would allow you to buy and use the cured & tested female buds.

        There is so much tweaking that this law will need later to make it acceptable to the broader medical marijuana patients in the state. One way is to make adult recreational legal so that if some dumbass politician has seen to it that your medical situation doesn’t qualify you that you can just go down to the adult retail store and get it anyway. Shame then is that you’ll have to pay tax on the adult retail cannabis transaction for your medicine.

        • Julian says:

          One of the pitfalls of passing marijuana legalization of any kind in a non-voter initiated state is that the burgeoning medical marijuana industry goes to bed with Big Pharma’s 1 molecule-at-a-time anti-whole-plant profit model.

          There is a bone thrown in the PA bill that allows the Department of Health to review the prohibition of dried whole plant flowers in 2 years, which speaks volumes of where GW Pharmaceuticals expects to cash in their piece of patent 6630507 in all the medical marijuana and CBD-only states during these crazy years of quasi-state prohibition.

          The caviat to this privatized prohibition where even the most prohibitionist states like Texas and Virginia are passing these CBD-only laws is that these state legislatures are admitting cannabis is medicine, which only furthers our momentum as we pass the climax majority of legalized states in November.

          Just think of the odds we are up against… Legalizing medically in Pennsylvania, no matter how imperfect, wasn’t even thought possible for 2016 only a year or two ago. We are going to improve the law, yes, but in the meantime the Governor just signed it into law today, so let’s kickback and roll another one to victory… And the many, many more there are to come…

    2. Idiocy, says:

      Oh and also, I just left breakfast with Senator Mike Folmer who also thinks your thoughts are totally meaningless when it comes to someone being at least the opportunity to use the plant I some form or the other. Ya wanna face to face about this I’m always available for any debate concerning this issue and no I’m not BLACK if that’s the issue the screw yourself because you are living I a “let’s see how.stupid I can be Bubble”!

    3. TheOracle says:

      Crony capitalism is alive and well in Pennsylvania with the law NOT allowing you to grow your own. Craven caving to cops ensures they don’t have to change because as soon as they smell smoked marijuana and/or they see dried, cured weed they’ll know your MMJ card does NOT protect you from, you guessed it, the New Jim Crow. The New Jim Crow is still alive and well in Pennsylvania, even if in another state you’d be free and clear as an MMJ patient. That’s aside from the fact that adult recreational should be legal anyway.

      Q: Who can be a grower/processor or operate a dispensary?

      A: People with big bucks for one thing, and who go through a lot of state hurdles. Growers/processors will have to put up a $10,000 application fee, an initial registration fee of $200,000, and have $2 million in capital, including $500,000 on deposit in a bank. Dispensaries will have to put up a $30,000 initial registration fee for each location, a $5,000 application fee, and have $150,000 on deposit in a bank.


    4. TheOracle says:

      And with yet another state legalizing medical cannabis the feds are still dragging their feet on legalizing cannabis banking and calling off the IRS dawgz.

    5. Jeffrey says:

      If you look at the Governor’s facebook page, top post. He signed the bill. And now PA has medical cannabis. Too bad our government in Ohio is slower than PA of all states when it comes to medical cannabis. Next step, full state legalization and taxation.

    6. Paul says:

      I was just wondering why it takes another year to be able to actually get a prescription for it?

    7. Juniata says:

      What will happen once half the states legalize medically? Anything? Once half the states legalize for recreation then it becomes federally legal is that rumor correct?

      [Paul Armentano responds: That rumor is incorrect. There is no mandate for Congress to amend federal law to comport with state laws.]

      • Julian says:

        Interesting to hear you say that Paul. I have always held the belief that the Supreme Court would not hear a case over the constitutionality of marijuana prohibition unless more than half the voting population legalized, but more importantly, legislatively initiated legalization as Vermont is still poised to do, because Judges so often refer to legislatively initiated law to determine judgements and Congressman so often refer to Supreme Court judgements to make their decisions over a vote.
        My Senator Cornyn keeps referring to a 2001 Supreme Court decision that throws out the idea marijuana is medicine, even though the Texas legislature admited marijuana is medicine last year. (Somehow, CBD made from whole plant cannabis with only .5% THC is not marijuana to Cornyn or Governor Abbot, how does this sick delusion work in Congress?)

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