The good news for patients living in Pennsylvania? The state’s legislature approved a very limited medical marijuana bill by a margin of 40 to 7 in the Senate.
The bad news: The bill, SB3, would strictly prohibit not only smoking or vaping dried plant material, but also edibles. Approved are only oils, pills, and tinctures. The bill originally excluded vaporizing in any form. An update to the bill allows vaping only by cancer, seizure (epilepsy), and PTSD patients — and only after a doctor’s approval.
The bill now moves to the Pennsylvania House, where it faces greater opposition. This may result in an even more strict version of the bill being introduced.
According to Chris Goldstein of Philly.com:
“In the long term, SB3 may help a handful of patients. In the short term, it will leave hundreds of thousands of seriously ill residents at risk and without safe access.”
The bill has some other notable shortcomings when compared to the medical cannabis laws of other states. The most significant is a lack of home cultivation. Of course, if patients aren’t allowed to smoke or even vape the cannabis they would grow, and couldn’t even make edibles, the utility of a home garden would become minimal for those lacking the ability to produce their own oils or tinctures.
It’s admirable that a relatively conservative state like Pennsylvania is pursuing some form of legal medical marijuana for its citizens. However, the current bill — if it becomes law — will do very little for the vast majority of the state’s sick who might choose to medicate with cannabis instead of pharmaceutical drugs.