Pennsylvania MMJ Framework Remains in Limbo


Richard Battle

September 28th, 2015

Policy


Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives spent the summer months drafting the initial framework for a medical marijuana system and plan to send the recommendations to the GOP House Majority Leader Dave Reed in the coming weeks.

With nearly 90% support among the state’s residents, the House leadership has placed a high priority on passing the bill into law. The legislators had originally hoped to pass the bill before the summer break, but as disagreements over what medical conditions should be covered, how many dispensaries should be permitted, and what state entity would oversee the rollout of the program has resulted in a refusal by the House to act.

Many advocates worry that the House may be tempted to write a brand new bill that would have to go back to the Senate before approval and could take time. On the other hand, an amendment to SB3 – the Senate’s already-approved version – could shorten the timeline with a simple yes or no vote in the House. The key will be just how different SB3 will be, which could create problems in the Senate as it’s forced to review any changes.

The good news is that Governor Tom Wolf has already come out in favor of such a bill, which means that the executive branch poses little threat to the passage of any compassionate use legislation. Once the bill passes on a government level, supports expect another two years before the program is up and running providing medical marijuana in the state – a timeline that has left many patients in need frustrated with the slow progress despite strong support.

In the end, it’s clear that Pennsylvanians are in favor of medical marijuana, but the timeline towards a legalized program remains uncertain.

About Richard Battle



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