Pennsylvania legalizes medical marijuana today after lawmakers gave the state’s groundbreaking bill its final round of votes.
After bouncing around between the Senate and the House over the past few months, the final version of the bill received the last round of votes it needed earlier this afternoon.
Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate voted 42-7 in favor of the bill. And today, the Pennsylvania House gave it another overwhelmingly positive vote of 149-46.
Now that it’s officially been passed by both sets of lawmakers, the bill is being given to Governor Tom Wolf to be signed into law.
As Pennsylvania legalizes medical marijuana, it becomes the 24th state in the U.S. to do so.
Wolf has been an outspoken supporter of making medical marijuana legal. He said he plans to sign the bill this Sunday at the Pennsylvania State Capitol around 1:00 p.m.
The new rules will establish a list of 17 qualifying health conditions. The list includes cancer, epilepsy, autism, AIDS, PTSD, and more. People who have been diagnosed with a qualifying disease will be allowed to use medical marijuana if they receive a prescription.
As of now, the law will only allow patients to use cannabis in pill, oil, or liquid form.
Additionally, patients will not be allowed to smoke or grow their own marijuana. Instead, the state will license up to 25 growers and processors.
It will also allow up to 50 dispensaries to sell medical marijuana. Each dispensary will be allowed to operate shops at up to three separate locations.
After Wolf signs the bill into law this weekend, the new set of rules will go into effect in about a month.
According to local reports, there was loud applause and cheering on the floor of the House when the final results of the vote came in today.
Some of the most vocal advocates calling on the state to legalize medical marijuana have been parents with sick children. Families with kids who suffer from epilepsy and debilitating seizures were on hand to witness today’s historic vote.
“There’s been a lot of safeguards that have been put into the law and I’m sure there will be some provisions down the road that we’re going to have to make changes in,” said Pennsylvania Representative Eddie Day Pashinski.
“But the bottom line is those kids need it now.”
(Photo Credit: The Sentinel)