Medical marijuana: Act 16 becomes law
Last update: May 23, 2016
Gov. Tom Wolf signed the state’s medical marijuana bill — now Act 16 — into law on April 17. The Department of Health has six months from May 17 to craft temporary regulations. Patients who suffer from a qualifying condition and whose doctors recommend medical cannabis will be able to register with the state to use and safely access medical cannabis preparations. The health department will regulate 25 processors/growers, along with 50 dispensaries, which may have up to three locations each. If you’d like to know more about Act 16, details are available here.
Many thanks to all the patients and loved ones, legislators and staff, advocates, and MPP donors who made this compassionate law possible!
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. The two largest cities in Pennsylvania have led the charge on decriminalization by enacting decriminalization laws in the last two years.
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 can still be sentenced to a maximum of 30 days in jail and fined up to $500.
On December 21, 2015, the Pittsburgh City Council voted to reduce the penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The mayor signed the law the following day. As of January 1, 2016, an individual found in possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana or eight grams of hash will face a fine of up to $100, instead of being charged with a misdemeanor.
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]. Please include your zip code so we can determine who your lawmakers are.
Additionally, if you are a doctor, veteran, law enforcement official, a person who was arrested for marijuana possession, or an attorney, please email [email protected] to learn how you can be of special help.