A Pennsylvania bill would legalize medical marijuana in the state, rejecting the federal prohibition on the same.
Introduced by State Sen. Michael Folmer (R-48), Senate Bill 3 (SB3) sets up a state regulatory regime that would allow medical marijuana to make its way into the hands of the sick, something that federal law says is illegal.
SB3 would create a State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing program that would allow the growing and dispensing of medical marijuana by licensed individuals for use by qualifying patients. The board would be able to license up to 65 medical marijuana processors.
Qualifying conditions include cancer, epilepsy and seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cachexia/wasting syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and postconcussion syndrome, multiple sclerosis, spinocerebellara Ataxia (SCA), posttraumatic stress disorder, severe fibromyalgia.
The bill contains penalties for unlicensed growers, including a civil penalty of up to $15,000 per violation, while providing protections for patients against losing child custody, visitation rights, or being deprived of a lease or employment due to the use of medical marijuana.
Although it draws a legal distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, SB3 marks an enormous step in the right direction for cannabis rights advocates in the state of Pennsylvania. The top-down federal mandates that have failed for so many decades are being replaced with a more decentralized, compassionate approach that is responsive to the needs of the people.
Activists should embrace any opportunity that they have to make it more difficult for people to be locked in cages for the non-violent non-crime of marijuana possession. The end of the federal drug war is on its way whether detractors like it or not. Measures like SB3 can help grease the wheels on our way toward that inevitable goal!
The bill was referred to the State Government Committee where it will need to pass through successfully before it can receive a full vote from the state senate.
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
If you live in the state of Pennsylvania, contact your state legislators immediately. It is important for you to politely urge them to support and co-sponsor this important bill. That is how you can make a difference in the fight against cannabis prohibition.
If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to SB3 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.