Pennsylvania
Last Update: January 29, 2015

Medical marijuana bill re-introduced

Sen. Mike Folmer and Sen. Daylin Leach have once again introduced legislation that would allow certain patients to treat their debilitating medical conditions with cannabis. SB 3 is modeled after last year’s Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, also sponsored by Folmer and Leach, which passed the Senate in an overwhelming 43-7 vote.

Unfortunately, in its current form, even if this legislation passed, it would leave most patients behind due to its limited list of qualifying conditions. It also would not allow some qualifying patients to administer cannabis in the way that works best for them. Vaporizing and smoking cannabis would both be forbidden, and the list of conditions does not include severe or debilitating pain. Meanwhile, the Keystone State is nearly surrounded by states where medical marijuana is legal, and polls consistently show that Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support it.

Newly-elected Gov. Tom Wolf favors legalizing medical cannabis and is ready to sign legislation that arrives at his desk. Please urge your elected officials to support this compassionate legislation!


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 state@mpp.org to learn how you can be of special help.


As study shows racially disparate arrest rates, Philly decriminalizes possession

On October 1, 2014, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed an ordinance decriminalizing marijuana in the City of Brotherly Love, making it the largest U.S. city to have done so. Beginning on October 20, the ordinance will remove criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine of $25, similar to a traffic ticket.

Under state law, however, an individual arrested for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in Pennsylvania can still be sentenced to a maximum of 30 days in jail and fined up to $500. A 2013 study by the American Civil Liberties Unionfound 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. Please email your legislators and let them know it’s time for the state to follow Philadelphia’s lead and decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana statewide.


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