Medical marijuana in Pennsylvania campaigners have been on pins and needles, waiting patiently for the Senate and House of Representatives to finally pass Senate Bill 3, legalizing medical marijuana. This bill has gone back and forth between the two bodies of government three times now, but it looks like there might be an end in sight as the House took their final vote on the issue today.
After the House submitted over 80 pages of addendums to the original Senate Bill 3, many feared the legalization bill would be killed when returning back to the Senate. Fortunately, doubters were wrong. Senate Bill 3 passed for a second time in the Senate last night, with an overwhelming 42 – 7 vote. Today, the bill went back to the House for final approval, before being sent to the governor. With little opposition to the changes made by the Senate, the House voted to legalize medical marijuana 149 – 46.
Senate Bill 3 has been passed around the Pennsylvania government more than a blunt at a Bob Marley concert. Many cannabis support groups feared the continued run-around was an attempt by opposing parties to stop the bill from ever passing. While we’re not quite there yet, after the House voted today in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, PA is just one governor’s signature away from legal medical marijuana.
Governor Tom Wolf has been a strong advocate for passing the medical marijuana bill and has criticized the government for dragging their feet on the issue. After yesterday’s Senate vote, Governor Wolf quickly issued a statement applauding the Senate for once again passing this “long overdue” bill.
“We should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy” – Governor Wolf.
Now that the House has voted in favor of Senate Bill 3, Governor Wolf will simply sign the ruling into law, something he has made very clear will happen the moment the bill reaches his desk, making Pennsylvania the 24th state with legal medical marijuana.
What will be legal?
Once passed, Senate Bill 3 will legalize the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of only a handful of varying illnesses. Also, the bill does not allow for inhaling actual raw plant material. Herb will only be legal in the form of tinctures, oils, extracts, pills and some form conducive to vaping. Despite these restrictions, which are likely to be amended once a functioning market is adapted throughout the state, residents are rejoicing and preparing for the historic moment when weed is legalized in the commonwealth.
Government offices are also preparing for the influx of paperwork to come when the bill is approved. The race to obtain one of the 25 grower or 50 dispensary licenses will begin the moment Governor Wolf signs the decree; those licenses will quickly become the new age golden ticket, and PA’s government will play Willy Wonka.
As a resident of this state, I truly thought we would be one of the last to ever legalize herb. Being a commonwealth, we are known for strict laws and harsh penalties for all infractions, but especially drugs. With the legalization of medical marijuana, it will be interesting to see how soon decriminalization follows, then full legalization for recreation use.
For now, excitement is brewing, as patients all over the state rejoice and celebrate the House vote. If everything turns out as predicted and anticipated, by the end of the week, Pennsylvania will become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.
Do you think Pennsylvania has developed a working medical marijuana plan? Let us know on social media or in the comment section below.