The Pennyslvlania legislature opens one week from today, and state Senators are expected to get right back to work moving a medical cannabis bill leftover from last session through to approval.
Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, last saw action in June when the Senate committee on Law and Justice unanimously approved it. Then summer break came, stalling the bill at the door of the Senate Appropriations committee where it currently waits.
Initial drafts set the limit at one ounce of marijuana flower and three ounces of concentrates, but that language has since been changed and limits would be set by the state later if the bill is passed. The bill also contains language that protects medical cannabis users’ jobs as well as other important things like making sure medical cannabis use doesn’t get people’s children taken away or denied custody. Read the entire bill at the Pennsylvania Legislative site.
Sen. Mike Folmer, a Republican from Lebanon County, says he has the votes to get the bill through the Senate. It is unclear whether or not the House will be as receptive.
“We are planning on hopefully moving out of appropriations on Sept. 15 and on to a full Senate floor vote on Sept. 16 … and get it over to the House as soon we can,” Folmer tells the Daily Pennsylvanian. “We have the votes, but we just need to get through the political process, and that can be very slow because our system of government is never really meant to be fast.”
If Pennsylvania does get this bill approved, they could become the 24th state with some form of medical cannabis laws (not including limited and restrictive CBD-only laws enacted in 11 states last year). Ohio and Florida are also considering laws, which could mean that more than 50 percent of the states may have legalized medical pot by 2015.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has been a vocal opponent of medical marijuana laws and said last year that he would veto any medical marijuana bills that came across his desk. He’s said in the past that marijuana is a gateway drug, even when used medically.