Earlier this month the Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved a medical marijuana bill, and by a wide margin. The bill wasn't perfect, but it was a good step in the right direction and was definitely something that reformers and patients had been pushing very hard for. With such a wide margin of passage (149-43) in the House, and a Governor stating that he would sign the bill once it got to his desk, it appeared that Pennsylvania was poised to become the most recent state to legalize medical marijuana.
However, it appears that there may be some snags in the Pennsylvania Senate. Some Senators are expressing concerns over some provisions of the bill, and if changes are made in the Senate, the bill would have to go back to the House for approval. As with just about any bill in any state, the more layers added to the process hurts momentum for passage. Per Philly Voice:
Building momentum to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, bolstered by an overwhelming 149-43 vote in the state House of Representatives, could be in jeopardy after several state senators raised concerns this week about the amended bill and the technical implementation of the program.
What originated as a 69-page bill in the Senate grew to 154 pages in the House of Representatives prior to the vote held earlier this month. While Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to sign the final legislation, senators including the bill's co-sponsor, Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), say the revisions could prove so problematic as to derail its passage, according to The Morning Call.
Suffering patients in Pennsylvania deserve safe access. Doctors should be able to decide which patients would benefit from medical cannabis. Politicians should not be the only ones making that decision. If you live in Pennsylvania, now is the time to contact your Senator. Let them know how important it is that this bill passes. Remember to be respectful. I know this is an emotional issue, but it's important to stay composed in order to be taken seriously by Senators and staffers.