Medical Marijuana Bill Finally Reaches Pennsylvania
On Tuesday, April 12, Pennsylvania passed its medical marijuana legislation with hopes of obtaining Governor Tom Wolf's signature by the end of the week.
According to WPXI news, the bill was passed 42-7 after some minor technical changes were applied. While Governor Wolf supports it, the Pennsylvania Medical Society opposes it. If the measure becomes law, Pennsylvania would be the 24th state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The 80-page bill has the following provisions listed:
Patients who will be able to obtain marijuana for medicinal purposes must be diagnosed with one of the following 17 conditions: cancer; HIV; AIDS; ALS; Parkinson's disease; multiple sclerosis; damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity; epilepsy: inflammatory bowel disease; neuropathies; Huntington's disease; Crohn's disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; intractable seizures; glaucoma; sickle cell anemia; autism; neuropathic pain; or severe chronic or intractable pain that is untreatable.
The marijuana will be in pill, oil, liquid, ointment, cream, or gel form or if needed, in a form appropriate for vaporization or nebulization. Patients will not be able to obtain it in a form that they can smoke.
Patients will be able to obtain marijuana at licensed dispensaries statewide using an ID card issued by the Department of Health that will be renewed annually. The ID will include their name, address, and date of birth.
There will be up to 25 growers and processors and as many as 50 dispensaries in three different locations. The marijuana will be monitored from seed to sale by the Department of Health through an electronic inventory tracking system on a daily basis. Patients are not allowed to grow their own marijuana plant.
Prescribing doctors would also have to be registered as practitioners. The Department of Health will provide training courses and all caregivers must be approved to assist in its use.
A 5 percent tax will be taken from the gross receipts that a grower or processor receives from the sale of medical marijuana from another grower or processor or dispensary.
The bill has been under fire since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve of marijuana being used for therapeutic purposes and they believe this will only encourage recreational use, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. However, backers of the bill maintain that the technical changes made would not allow this to happen. Advocates of the bill include parents whose children suffer from a chronic illness.