HARRISBURG, Pa. — A bill to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania has cleared the state Senate and now heads to the state House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1182 would allow people with certain conditions to use medical marijuana who have a recommendation from their doctor.
This list includes people with cancer, epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, severe fibromyalgia, cachexia (wasting syndrome), Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome.
The number of conditions for which medical marijuana could be prescribed has been narrowed since the bills inception. About 39 diseases and disorders were removed from the list and include Muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, Glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Rheumatoid arthritis, Hydrocephalus, Diabetes and Lupus.
Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, prime sponsor of the bill and sponsor Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County, drafted the amendment to keep the bill moving amidst some apprehension from their colleagues. The bill passed in the Senate on Wednesday by a 43-7 vote.
“It’s been a long road to this point and we have a long road ahead of us – but, with 85% of Pennsylvanians supporting the use of medical cannabis to treat our most vulnerable – I am optimistic we can get this done,” said Folmer, “This would have never happened without ‘the Moms’, a special group of people who have demonstrated the very best of citizen lobbying.”
The bill allows growers to supply medical processors to transform the cannabis plant into oil, lotions, tinctures, ointments and cannabis infused products. Only licensed medical cannabis dispensers can dispense non-smoking medical cannabis to a patient with a medical cannabis access card issued by the Department of Health.
“We’ve come a long way from where we started, but we can help people with this bill – people who previously had no hope,” said Folmer.
The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for further consideration.
Representative Ryan Bizzarro, a Democratic member of the House said he will vote for the bill. Rep. Bizzarro said he expects amendments to be made, and he also expects an uphill battle with conservative Republicans.
The bill would then need to be signed by the governor. FOX43 is still waiting for a statement from Governor Tom Corbett, but in the past he has been opposed to use of the whole plant.
This vote gives Angela Sharrer hope. Her daughter has Epilepsy and suffers from seizures. Sharrer has advocated for this bill because none of the FDA approved medications have worked for her daughter. “Less seizures means a better quality of life,” said Sharrer as she fought back tears. “This is Pennsylvania history. I’m not a history buff, I don’t follow history, but I know I am a part of it right now and I am feeling very proud to be surrounded by everyone we are surrounded by.”