Last Update: June 30, 2014
Medical marijuana may be coming to Pennsylvania
On June 27, the Senate Law and Justice Committee unanimously voted in support of the bipartisan Senate Bill 1182, known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. This is the first time in recent history that a legislative body in Pennsylvania has acted on this issue! If passed, this measure would protect Pennsylvanians with serious and debilitating medical conditions from arrest for using and obtaining medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendations.
Conservative Sen. Mike Folmer joined longtime champion Sen. Daylin Leach this year in co-sponsoring the medical marijuana bill. "We're not talking about banning OxyContin, we're not talking about banning Percocet, we're not talking about banning Vicodin. If you're gonna say that we're afraid of the misuse of medical marijuana, you've gotta use that same philosophy and ban all the others also," Folmer said.
Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. have compassionate laws on the books. Once New York’s recently-passed bill is signed into law, the Keystone State will be nearly surrounded by states where medical marijuana is legal. Seriously ill Pennsylvanians deserve the same treatment options as their neighbors. Ask your state representation in Harrisburg to support this well-crafted legislation.
And, while Gov. Corbett is opposed to medical marijuana, change may be on the horizon. Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hanger is running on a campaign to reform marijuana laws. His three-step plan includes legalizing medical marijuana, decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, and establishing a regulated system for adult-use, retail marijuana sales.
Are you a patient, clergy member, or member of law enforcement?
If you are a medical professional or a patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, or if you know somebody who might benefit from medical marijuana, we would like to hear from you. Additionally, if you are a law enforcement official, a person who was arrested for marijuana possession, an attorney, or a clergy member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can be of special help.
ACLU study shows Keystone State marijuana laws result in racially disproportionate arrest rates
In June, the Philadelphia City Council voted to decriminalize marijuana in the city. Please ask Mayor Nutter to sign the bill into law immediately.
Under current law, an individual arrested for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in Pennsylvania can be sentenced to a maximum of 30 days in jail and fined up to $500. A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that although blacks and whites use marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in Pennsylvania are 5.2 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession.
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