Pennsylvania is the 24th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana.
On Sunday, April 17, Governor Tom Wolf signed the bill into law, which makes Pennsylvanian the 24th state in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana. This new law permits the sale and consumption of cannabis to treat specific disease and symptoms.
“Marijuana is medicine and it’s coming to Pennsylvania,” said Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach, the bill’s co-sponsor.
On Wednesday, 4/13, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 3, “with a vote of 149-46 after the Senate passed it Tuesday with a 42-7 vote,” according to a report by WNEP News.
This new law “will improve the quality of life for patients and their families throughout Pennsylvania,” said Wolf.
Over the next 18 to 24 months, the state will be rolling out its medical marijuana program.
According to one report, “[t]he bill’s drafters say it could take two years to write regulations and get retailers opened, but a provision allows parents to legally administer medical marijuana to their children before the bill takes effect in a month.”
The law permits the use of medical cannabis to treat the following conditions:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
- Intractable Seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
- Sickle Cell Anemia
A medical marijuana identification card and a prescription from a registered doctor will be necessary for patients to have access to medical marijuana. In order for these to be obtained, patients will need to fill out an application. In addition, 50 medical marijuana dispensaries have been allowed by the state (up to three locations each).
However, this bill does not permit patients unregulated freedom with cannabis. According to AP:
The bill sets standards for tracking plants, certifying physicians and licensing growers, dispensaries and physicians. Patients could take marijuana in pill, oil, vapor, ointment or liquid form, but would not be able to legally obtain marijuana to smoke or grow.
Currently, recreational marijuana use has been legalized in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state, and D.C. Furthermore, the possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized in 20 states and D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. However, it’ is still a banned substance under federal law.
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