On April 12th, 2016, the Pennsylvania Senate passed medical marijuana legislation in a landslide vote of 42 to 7. The bill, which has seen numerous revisions and opposition from high-ranking Republican officials since its inception, has recently gathered overwhelming bipartisan support. Its current draft must now move to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for approval and, from there, onto Governor Wolf’s desk. Although it is anticipated to pass in the House and get a signature from Governor Wolf, it is unclear if that will happen this week or in early May, when the House returns after a hiatus. Even if it is signed this week, the legislation’s mandates would probably not start to go into effect until 2018.
The bill hopes to legalize medical marijuana for use in treating 17 illnesses and conditions, including cancer, autism, and glaucoma. Governor Wolf has stated his own beliefs that it could be used to help those who suffer seizures or undergo chemotherapy. It will require that registered physicians evaluate the health of a patient and prescribe the medical marijuana in controlled dosages that can come in a variety of forms, such as pills or ingestible liquids. The bill does not seek to permit individuals to cultivate the substance, nor would they be permitted to use marijuana in any way without an official prescription from their doctor.
Drawing Closer to the Summit
For supporters of medical marijuana use in Pennsylvania, it has been an uphill battle that has required constant commitment and patience, but it would appear that the fight will soon be won. Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach and the American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH) have been some of the most prominent forerunners for marijuana law reform. Our own Pennsylvania medical marijuana attorneys at Sacks Weston LLC would like to congratulate Senator Leach and ATACH for their persistence and labors to keep the bill alive, an effort we have been proud to support as well. When Governor Wolf does sign the bill, our managing partner Attorney Andrew Sacks plans to attend the ceremony.
For more information on this ongoing story, you can view a full article published by NBC Philadelphia here. You are also encouraged to keep an eye on our blog this week for more entries as the bill continues to move through the legislative process.