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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Legislation - by Chelsea Shaker

     Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly passed medical marijuana legislation in late September. SB 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, was hailed a victory in the Senate, with all of the Democrats voting “yea” and 20 out of 27 Republicans voting in favor as well. The bill calls for a structured program through the Department of Health and Agriculture. The bill calls for licensed Care Centers throughout the state, while enforcing rigorous testing of medical marijuana to ensure safe, clean cannabis. The bill itself takes note of the benefits of Charlotte’s Web strain to relieve debilitating conditions in children such as seizures, and calls for high CBD consideration for children suffering in Pennsylvania. The bill allows for other forms of ingesting medical cannabis, such as extracts, topicals, and edibles.

     “It is cruel and heartless to deny people the best medicine that is available” Senator Daylin Lead (D)-Montgomery during a floor debate. “It’s time to stop treating this irrationally and saying, ‘we’re not going to let you have this, we’re going to instead make you take far more dangerous and less effective drugs.’ That’s just not how we would want to be treated; it’s not how we want our families to be treated.”

     Governor Tom Corbett, however, opposes this bill, saying the bill should be directed towards the children’s relief first, and a comprehensive study should be put in place to examine the benefits for others seeking to use it. Corbett’s Democratic challenger in the upcoming November elections for Governor, Tom Wolf, is supportive of the medical marijuana program. 

     The bill will need to be seen before the House of Representatives, which is winding down their days before the legislative session ends. It is likely this bill will be headed towards a lame duck session and taken up when session reconvenes after the new year.

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