On Tuesday the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 3, a legislative proposal that would create a functional medical cannabis program in the state. Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) co-sponsored the legislation and built up bipartisan support that lead to the bill's passage by a margin of 40-7.
"The support of so many in the Senate and the many, many advocates has been overwhelming and I cannot thank everyone enough," said Folmer. "I believe in its present form Senate Bill 3 represents a balance between the advocates who want greater access to medical cannabis and those who continue to have concerns. Hopefully we have established a solid foundation for consideration and deliberation in the House."
The passage of SB 3 would create meaningful access to medical cannabis for Pennsylvanians suffering from serious and all too common illnesses including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, severe fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma among other qualifying conditions. Amendments to the bill expanded the qualifying condition list to include diabetes, Crohn's disease and chronic or intractable pain that has proven otherwise untreatable. SB 3 would create a state licensing board for growers and dispensaries. In addition to oils, pills, liquids, gels, and tinctures as delivery methods, amendments earlier in the week expanded the authorized uses to include home preparations of edibles and vaporization under certain conditions. Patient advocates will be working in the House to expand upon these improvements concerning delivery methods
"This bill has had many individuals working hard to help the broadest group of people we possibly can without further delay," said Folmer. "I am so thankful for the additional amendments offered by my colleagues to expand the bill even further to help Pennsylvania's suffering patients."
The Pennsylvania Senate previously passed medical cannabis legislation last year, but it was opposed by then governor Tom Corbett (R). Governor Tom Wolf (D) has indicated support for creating a medical cannabis program. 23 states and the District of Columbia have medical cannabis programs, in addition to 14 other states that have passed laws that allow for at least some type of medical cannabis use.
"This is a victory for Pennsylvania. The current laws are standing in the way of doctors utilizing cannabis as a viable, legal treatment option," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. "This vote shows that there is political will and needed leadership to get patients in Pennsylvania the medicine they need."