Pennsylvania Passes Medical Marijuana Bill
Here is a run down on the things you might have missed concerning Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Bill…
Pennsylvania is the 24th state to officially legalize a medical marijuana program. On Sunday April 18, 2016 Gov. Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 into law. It was a long two-and-a-half year journey for adults, parents and children who see medicinal value in using marijuana to treat illnesses.
The medical marijuana program could take eighteen to twenty-four months to fully take effect, pending the regulations being written and retailers opening. Patients will need to apply for a Medical Marijuana ID Card and obtain a recommendation from a doctor. The bill does include a safe haven provision to protect parents who administer medical marijuana to their children before the bill takes effect in a month. Specifically, children suffering from debilitating, incurable conditions with symptoms like seizures, pain, or dietary stress can all obtain medical marijuana as of now.
Pennsylvania is the first state in the country to specifically consider autism a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Patients can take medical marijuana as a pill, oil, vapor, ointment or liquid form only. Patients will not be able to legally obtain marijuana to smoke or grow. There are 17 conditions covered by the bill.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurologic indication of intractable spasticity
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
- Intractable Seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Severe Chronic or Intractable Pain of Neuropathic Origin
- Sickle Cell Anemia
The state will initially license up to 25 growers/processors and 50 dispensaries (allowing dispensaries to have 3 locations). Growers/processors would have to pay an initial registration fee of $200,000, and annual fees of $10,000. Growers/processors will have to pay a 5% tax, however patients and caregivers are protected from this. The money will be used for administering the program, funding research on medical marijuana, ensuring low-income households have opportunity to obtain medical marijuana, and providing grants to police departments to fund program related local enforcement.
The Program will be overseen by the State Department of Health, which will be advised by a new board that will regularly evaluate the program and consider changes (such as medical conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana and methods for consuming it).
We have an epidemic in our country; statistics show not from cannabis, but from oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and morphine. States that have legalized medical marijuana have seen dramatic declines in both heroin addiction and overdoses. Medical marijuana is non-toxic, organic, non-addictive, and has far fewer side effects than current pain medications. Pennsylvania has taken a huge step in the right direction with this bill, opening many new doors and broadening the options that men, women and children have in treating their debilitating diseases without the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals. Let’s get the rest of the states to join us in helping everyone have access to natural treatment options!