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Pennsylvania Legislators Expected To File Medical Cannabis Initiative Monday

HARRISBURG, PA — As previously reported, two Pennsylvania Senators – Daylin Leach (D) and Mike Folmer (R) – have drafted an initiative to legalize medical cannabis in the state. They are expected to introduce the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act Monday.

Senator Leach has introduced medical marijuana legislation in the past, but it has failed to gain much support. Still, Senator Folmer announced his support for the bill in November and after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012. He has stated that medical marijuana can help children who suffer from seizures and cancer patients suffering through chemotherapy.

“It’s time that we help these individuals to end their pain and suffering,” Senator Leach said two months ago. “I invite my fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle to join us, to put politics aside, and to allow people to take advantage of the multitude of benefits this medicine has to offer.”

Measure Could Legalize Medical Marijuana In Pennsylvania

As written, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act would allow each individual to possess up to an ounce of medical cannabis or up to three ounces of cannabis infused products (edibles, extracts, etc.).

“The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act would allow each individual to possess up to an ounce of medical cannabis or up to three ounces of cannabis infused products.”

Of course, patients will require a recommendation from their doctor, nurse practitioner, dentist or psychiatrist. Medical professionals will be permitted to recommend medical cannabis for one or more of the qualifying conditions. Minors will be granted access to medical marijuana too, so long as they have their guardian’s consent.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act includes protections for cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, including epilepsy, severe and persistent muscle spasms (including spasms characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease), intractable pain, and “any other medical condition or its treatment that is recognized by licensed medical authorities attending to a patient as being treatable with cannabis in a manner that is superior to treatment without cannabis.”

It was previously reported that cannabis would only be permitted under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act if it contains at least an equal amount of cannabidiol (CBD) as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is presumably because CBD can inhibit the impairment some people associate with THC (“The High Causer”).

Structure Of The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act

mmj symbolThe Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act determines that medical marijuana would be distributed through a statewide system of medical cannabis dispensaries. They will be referred known as Compassionate Care Centers and regulated by newly-proposed Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Board (PMCB).

In order to grow medical cannabis in Pennsylvania, one will be required to register as a “commercial medical cannabis farmer.” Similarly, edibles will be produced by “medical cannabis manufacturer.”

Personal cultivation would not be permitted under the measure, but commercial medical cannabis farmers will be allowed to keep up to 25% of their crop.

The remaining crop would have to be sold to a dispensary or donated to a university for research.

“Commercial medical cannabis farmers will be allowed to keep up to 25% of their crop.”

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act places a ban on public smoking in places like public transportation, public parks, beaches and recreation centers, correctional facilities, or any place in Pennsylvania that bans the smoking of cigarettes either by law or organizational policy. However, vaporization would be allowed in public.

Also included in the measure is the creation of a new division of the Pennsylvania State Police. The Bureau of Medical Cannabis Control Enforcement would exist to ensure compliance with the program’s regulations. It would be their role to investigate claims of unlicensed or unlawful medical marijuana sales.

The Bureau of Consumer Relations would be established to handle complaints and suggestions from Pennsylvania patients as well.

The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act could face an uphill battle even if it advances past the Senate. Governor Tom Corbett (R) has said he would veto any medical cannabis law that reaches his desk. Of course, he will be up for re-election in 2014 and it could be interesting to see if he experiences a change of heart.

If passed, the bill will be enacted 90 days after Governor Corbett’s signature or legislative override of a veto.

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