A long-debated bill to legalize medical cannabis in Pennsylvania received final approval by the state’s legislature today and has been sent to Governor Tom Wolf, who has 10 calendar days to sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto it.
The House of Representatives voted 149-46 Wednesday to concur with the Senate’s version of Senate Bill 3. The state’s Senate approved the bill with a 42 to 7 vote yesterday.
Senate Bill 3 would allow those with a qualifying conditions who receive a recommendation from a physician to possess and use cannabis and cannabis products. The qualifying conditions include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, seizures, autism, sickle cell anemia, and intractable pain if conventional therapies or opiates are contraindicated or ineffective. The measure authorizes up to 25 cultivation centers, and up to 50 dispensaries, each of which could have up to three locations.
“I almost can’t believe that our patients and families are so close to getting relief after so much waiting,” said Latrisha Bentch of Harrisburg, whose daughter suffers from mesial temporal sclerosis, a condition marked by frequent seizures that could be treated with medical cannabis. She is a founding member of the Campaign for Compassion, a local organization of patients and families advocating for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.
“We are overjoyed that the legislature has finally agreed on a comprehensive bill to help alleviate our suffering,” Bentch said. “After hearing our stories and seeing our faces day after day at the Capitol, they put politics aside and did the right thing. We thank them for their work, and look forward to the governor signing this bill into law as soon as possible.”