Will Pennsylvania approve Medical Marijuana Bill?

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on January 28, 2015.

In a major development, a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use was introduced in the Pennsylvania state senate this week. Interestingly, Governor Tom Wolf has come out in support of the bill, raising hopes of its smooth passage. In the past, then Governor Tom Corbett had opposed such a bill. The present Governor made it clear that he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law if it comes to him.

If the bill is passed, Pennsylvania would become the 24th State in the United States to allow pot for medical use. In 2014, a similar bill was passed by the Pennsylvania Senate, but Governor Tom Corbett refused to sign it, leading to its collapse. The change of tune in the Governor's office has made people believe that medical marijuana may be closer than it's ever been before in the state.

The Senate Bill 3 is almost identical to the previous bill, SB 1182, which passed the Senate in September 2014 by a vote of 43-7, but was never considered by the House. The new bill has 25 co-sponsors, including 14 Democrats and 11 Republicans. More Republicans may extend their support to the bill, as Governor Tom Wolf has already started mobilizing opinion in its favor.

As per the provisions of the bill, a person, who grows, processes or dispenses medical cannabis or operates a testing lab, would be required to get license and certification from that board. The licensing fee would be $50,000 with a $5,000 renewal fee every year. In addition, the Department of Health at the state government, will have to approve the patients. The patients would get an access card for obtaining the medicine. The application fee has been fixed at $100, while renewal will cost $50.

Initially, Pennsylvania would limit the number of growers and processors to 65. All employees who work on this field, would have to undergo background checks. The drugs would have all relevant information about expiration dates, health warnings and safety and storage instructions on the packaging.

Governor Tom Wolf met with medical marijuana advocates and family members of affected people to know their point of view and suggestions on the bill. It pains me that anybody, any citizen of Pennsylvania, is not getting the treatment he or she needs because of some legal impediment," said Tom Wolf.

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