Medical marijuana close to passage!
Last update: November 23, 2015
More than a year after the Senate first approved compassionate medical cannabis legislation, the House may be ready to finally take up this compassionate issue. Please call and email your state representative to urge swift passage of medical cannabis legislation and to make sure the bill doesn’t include arbitrary restrictions.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed medical cannabis legislation again in May, but the bill stalled in the House Health Committee. Despite pressure from the public and his colleagues, Chairman Matt Baker remained obstinate until Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R) attempted to file a discharge petition that would bring SB 3 to the House floor. Before Miccarelli could call for a vote on the discharge petition, Baker agreed to send the bill to the House Rules Committee.
House Majority Leader David Reed (R), a strong supporter, created a special working group to draft recommendations for a House bill. At the end of September, the working group sent its recommendations to Leader Reed. The Rules Committee advanced the bill to the floor on November 18, and several amendments were filed on November 20.
Please urge your representative to call for a swift vote and to stand firm for patients — including by opposing an arbitrary cap on THC, removing a proposed prohibition on whole plant cannabis, and supporting immediate legal protections for patients. Gov. Wolf, the Senate, and the public all strongly support patients. The most recent poll showed 90% of Pennsylvanians support legalizing marijuana for medical use.
Decriminalization and prohibition
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. The ordinance removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replaces 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 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. 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.
- Ask your representative to support passage of medical cannabis legislation.
- 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.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Pennsylvania, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service now.
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 and you want to get involved, contact us at [email protected].
Interested clergy can sign a statement of support at clergyforcompassion.com.
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 protected] to learn how you can be of special help.