Medical marijuana bill could see vote in PA House

Medical marijuana sign

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill today that, if passed, could be the final major hurdle to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

However, the Medical Cannabis Act, or Senate Bill 3, has stalled in the House for nearly a year and currently has more than 100 amendments attached to it, according to the Allentown Morning Call. If the bill was amended, it would have to be approved by the House and Senate again before it could be sent to the governor.

The bill was passed in a 40-7 vote by the state Senate in May. Passage of this bill in the Senate was led by Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, and Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery.

According to a statement by Leach:

In this case, Sen. Folmer and I both had met with children and families suffering from diseases that they and their doctors knew how to treat but that they knew was unavailable to them because they lived in a state that forbid them from using effective, potentially life-saving medicine.

Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would sign the bill if it was passed by the House.

“It is time to legalize medical marijuana because we should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy,” Wolf said in a video statement.

According to the Morning Call:

The bill would set up the State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing within the Department of State to oversee up to 65 farmers who would buy a license to set up secure, indoor facilities to grow marijuana. An additional 65 licenses would be sold to processors who would turn the plant into "oil-based medical cannabis products." And 130 licenses would be sold to dispensers.

Each license would cost $50,000 plus annual renewal fees.

Advocacy groups such as the Marijuana Policy Project have been pushing states to legalize recreational and medical marijuana, according to a News21 project “America’s Weed Rush,” which PublicSource ran in August.

The team also wrote about Pittsburgh parents arguing for comprehensive change to Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws and a story about testing marijuana for contaminants.

Reach Eric Holmberg at 412-315-0266 or at eholmberg@publicsource.org. Follow him on Twitter @holmberges.