Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 149-43 in favor of Senate Bill 3
Pennsylvania is on the brink of making history as the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.
On Wednesday evening, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 149-43 in favor of Senate Bill 3, which calls for the legalization of cannabis for medical uses.
The vote came after a long debate during which lawmakers made a number of significant changes to the bill.
As currently outlined, the bill will make it legal for doctors in Pennsylvania to prescribe cannabis to patients, but only in pill, oil, and liquid form. Neither actual marijuana buds nor edibles will qualify for legal sale in dispensaries.
The bill would allow the state to approve and license 25 growers and 50 dispensaries. Patients, however, will not be allowed to legally grow their own cannabis plants.
Earlier forms of the bill called for limiting the THC content of approved cannabis products to 10 percent. But an important amendment removed that limit.
Some of the more controversial amendments made this week had to do with limiting the range of health conditions that would qualify for legal access to medical marijuana.
In its current form, the bill will allow doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients who have one of just over a dozen different conditions.
Although the Senate approved the bill last May by a vote of 40 to 7, it will have to take another vote on the amended version of the bill that was approved today.
That means there will be a slight delay in the process, since the Senate will not meet again until Monday, March 21.
If the newest version of the bill receives Senate approval as is expected, it will then be passed along to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to be officially signed into law.
Wolf has been an outspoken supporter of the bill throughout the lawmaking process. After today’s House vote, he released the following statement:
“I applaud the Pennsylvania House for passing legislation to legalize medical marijuana, and I look forward to the Senate sending the bill to my desk. We will finally provide the essential help needed by patients suffering from seizures, cancer, and other illnesses.”
Currently, 23 states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized medical marijuana.