Medical marijuana program scheduled to become less strict in Pennsylvania
A Pennsylvania House Committee voted to adopt changes to their current medical marijuana laws Monday, May 24. The Health Committed nearly voted unanimously to advance proposed revisions from the House floor that would make permanent current practices at medical marijuana dispensaries that were adopted during the pandemic. These practices include continuing curbside pickups and allowing three-month supplies to be dispensed at a time, rather than the previous 30-day supply limit.
The change in the law was necessary after voters voted last week to amend the state’s constitution to limit the governor’s declaration of disaster emergency from lasting longer than three weeks without legislative consent. Also included is a provision supported by a majority of Republicans that would loosen the regulations on contaminants in medical marijuana.
Absent the provision, medical marijuana containing any contaminants is required by law to be destroyed. The provision allows for suppliers to remove the pesticides, send the product to an independent lab to be tested, and dispense the product if the lab concludes that efforts to remediate are successful.
While most Democrats voted against this provision, one legislative aid explained to lawmakers that the change would help increase the supply of medical marijuana, as other states are experiencing marijuana shortages. Another amendment backed by Republican lawmakers would allow hemp-derived ingredients to be added to medical cannabis. If the bill is passed into law and signed by Governor Tom Wolf, the Agriculture Department will be tasked with setting up the process to determine which pesticides will be permitted.
The benefits of medical marijuana outweigh its costs on society, and conservative lawmakers are beginning to see these results. It’s not just the growing popularity that’s driving policy; it’s seeing the policy effective in action that’s converting many former prohibitionists. Marijuana remains illegal for recreational use in Pennsylvania, though neighboring states are adopting a new attitude towards the plant. Both Governor Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman have vocally advocated for legalizing pot for recreational use.