HARRISBURG, Pa. — In a ceremony crowded with patients and supporters at the State Capital on Sunday, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that will provide seriously ill Pennsylvanians with legal access to medical marijuana. The passage of SB 3 makes Pennsylvania the 24th state to allow medical marijuana. More than half of Americans now live in states with effective medical marijuana laws.
SB 3 would allow patients with a qualifying condition and their doctors’ recommendation to use and safely access medical marijuana. Up to 25 Department of Health-permitted growers and processors would produce medical marijuana, which could be dispensed by up to 50 dispensaries, each of which could have up to three locations. 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.
“Finally, Pennsylvania patients who could benefit from medical marijuana will no longer have to suffer needlessly or be treated like criminals,” said Latrisha Bentch of Harrisburg, whose daughter suffers from mesial temporal sclerosis, a condition marked by frequent seizures that could be treated with medical marijuana. She is a founding member of the Campaign for Compassion, a local organization of patients and families advocating for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.
“Patients and their families throughout the state have been desperately hoping that we could get this sensible and compassionate legislation passed this year,” Bentch said. “Thanks to Gov. Wolf and supportive lawmakers, our wait is finally over.”
“Due to the tireless efforts of patients, families, advocates, and lawmakers, Pennsylvanians will finally have access to this safe and effective treatment option,” said Becky Dansky, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Now that more than half of Americans live where medical marijuana is legal, we hope other states and the federal government will reconsider their policies.”
“We applaud the Department of Health which is already taking steps to prepare for the implementation process,” Dansky said. “We’re confident that under the leadership of Governor Wolf and Secretary Murphy, Pennsylvania will create the strongest possible program for patients in the Commonwealth.”
Latrisha Bentch, Campaign for Compassion – Local perspective
Becky Dansky, Marijuana Policy Project – National perspective