Pennsylvania Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

Pennsylvania Senate Committee Unanimously Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

HARRISBURG, PA —  The Pennsylvania State Senate Law & Justice Committee passed Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, in a unanimous 9-0 vote Friday.

The passing of this bill shows the support for cannabis reform in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The bill now makes it way to the Senate Appropriations Committee and ultimately the Senate floor for a vote by the 50-member chamber.

The bill is sponsored in the Senate by Democrat Senator Daylin Leach and and Republican Senator Mike Folmer, and would legalize the use of medical marijuana by patients as recommended by attending physicians.

“History was made today!” Sen. Folmer posted on Facebook. “I am overjoyed that Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, was unanimously reported out of the Senate Law & Justice Committee.  We are one step closer to this becoming law in Pennsylvania.”

The bill’s companion legislation in the House, House Bill 2182, has 45 cosponsors was introduced in the House on June 25 by state Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks County.

Recent polls done by Quinnipiac University and the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics have shown 85% support for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania, and strong support for overall reform. Legalization and taxation of marijuana will allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis.

State Senator Daylin Leach says, “Prohibition is such a cruel, irrational, destructive policy. It’s support among the public is collapsing. I think it’s an issue where the tide of history has turned and the tipping point has been reached.”

Majority

Alloway, Richard L., II, yes
Scarnati, Joseph B., III, yes
Erickson, Edwin B. yes
Rafferty, John C., Jr. yes
White, Donald C yes
Yaw, Gene yes
Minority

Fontana, Wayne D. yes
Tartaglione, Christine M. yes
Williams, Anthony H. yes

  • Mike

    Great news and congrats to all those who’ve worked hard on this. Still a way to go, but what I’ve heard makes me hopeful. This sounded like a pretty good bill, too, instead of the lame warmed-over finger wagging that seems to pass for reform these days in many places.

    • Dave

      The bill is ok. It is a complete rewrite from what was originally proposed and the original is in some respects better. The version that just passed contains these features:
      > smoking is not permitted but vaping is permitted, even in public. It seems like the ban on smoking might only apply to “the public domain”.
      > oils will be available but so will flower and (probably) edibles.
      > there is language that prohibits regulators from restricting the category of patients eligible (which under this law would basically be anyone whose doctor certifies as likely to have more benefits than harm from using cannabis)
      > only licensed growers would be allowed to cultivate cannabis. Previous language that allowed growers to keep a portion for their own use and which defined “medical use” to include cultivation is gone.
      > this is interesting: employers would not be able to discriminate against patients using medical cannabis. The bill doesn’t mention the conflicts that this would create such as people employed by the Federal government in PA. This provision was not in the original bill if I recall correctly.

      > the cultivation, processing, and distribution/sale of cannabis will be tightly regulated along the lines of CO’s “seed-to-sale” model.
      > I could find no limits on how much cannabis a single patient could use or possess. Maybe someone else can contribute to this part of the discussion?

  • fumes

    What Mike said ;-}-~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  • Dave

    I would like to point out some good news and some bad news here.

    First the good news, which is that this committee consists of 6 Republicans (Majority) and 3 Democrats (Minority). As the article stated the bill passed unanimously. The fact that this Republican-controlled committee unanimously passed this medical cannabis legislation is noteworthy.

    Now the bad news: for this bill to become law it must pass another committee and then the full Senate. It must then go to the House and run the gamit there. Then it will need to get the governor’s signature, and he’s promised to veto it. In a state like Pennsylvania, which faces a number of other serious issues besides medical cannabis and where there are no rights to initiative or referendum, the fact that 85% of the population supports this law will do very little to move the insulated and isolated politicians in Harrisburg.

    • B Something

      Eh Corbett knows that reelection is staring him in the face, I have a feeling he’ll look at that 85% approval rate and realize that if he veto’s it, he’s vetoing his own reelection.

  • rollinstonedzero

    Does anyone know when this will take affect? Or how long this may take?

  • billwill66111

    85% is great but all we need is 51% I don’t see a problem with this happening so Gov. think about what ur doing. your days as a Gov. would be numbered

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  • Ras Ible

    With that percentage of voters for mmj, it’s political suicide to fight it now.