Pennsylvania senators propose medicinal marijuana bill

By - Last modified: January 14, 2014 at 10:33 AM

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As Colorado and Washington recently became the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use, Pennsylvania may soon move toward legislation for legalization on a medicinal level.

On Monday, a comprehensive bill to allow the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania was filed by Senators Daylin Leach, D-17, and Mike Folmer, R-48.

Intentions to introduce bi-partisan bill, the Governor Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, was announced last year.

The bill has received input from lawmakers, health care professionals, parents, patients, activists from local and national marijuana law reform organizations, and medical marijuana industry professionals from other states, including Colorado.

Under the proposed bill, doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists and psychiatrists will be allowed to recommend medical marijuana to patients suffering from 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, or "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."

If the bill is passed in Harrisburg, medical marijuana would be distributed through a statewide system of registered, regulated, nonprofit dispensaries known as "Comprehensive Care Centers" under the act. Medical cannabis would be grown in Pennsylvania by registered nonprofit "commercial medical cannabis farmers," and edibles and other concentrates would be allowed to be produced by registered nonprofit "medical cannabis manufacturers."

Proponents say many jobs could be created throughout the state.

Medicinal marijuana is legal in 20 states and Washington, D.C., and each have their own laws and regulations for distribution, use and possession.

The bill still faces an uphill challenge. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has said he would veto any bill allowing medical marijuana in the commonwealth.

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland

Christopher Holland is a researcher for Lehigh Valley Business and blogs on arts and entertainment in the region.

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