Last Update: October 17, 2014
Pennsylvania Senate passes restrictive medical cannabis bill
On September 24, the Pennsylvania Senate overwhelmingly passed a revised version of Senate Bill 1182, known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. With only a few voting days left in the legislative session, House majority leader Rep. Mike Turzai has indicated that the lower house will not be considering the bill this year. Please email your representative and ask her or him to stand up for patients by supporting S.B. 1182.
Unfortunately, even if this legislation passes, it would leave most patients behind and wouldn’t allow them to administer cannabis in the way that works best for them. Vaporizing and smoking cannabis would both be forbidden, and the list of conditions is extremely narrow and 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.
Even if the House acts, the medical marijuana bill would face another hurdle as Gov. Tom Corbett is opposed to medical marijuana. Regardless of the outcome of S.B. 1182, Election Day may bring new hope for sensible and compassionate marijuana policies. Democratic candidate Tom Wolf — who is leading handily in the polls — supports both medical marijuana and marijuana decriminalization.
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 email@example.com to learn how you can be of special help.
As study shows racially disparate arrest rates, Philly decriminalizes possession
On October 1, 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, 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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