Pa. Senators Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill. Here Are Some Highlights.
On Thursday, four state senators introduced Senate Bill 1003—which, as of now, only has one unofficial name: “Medical Marijuana.”
Those Pennsylvania lawmakers are Daylin Leach (D-Montco), Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheney/Westmoreland/Armstrong) and Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheney)—three of whom introduced similar legislation last year.
According to an unofficial PDF of the bill viewed by PhillyNow (the official bill has not been made public), the senators’ potential law would provide for “the medical use of marijuana; and repealing provisions of law that prohibit and penalize marijuana use.”
The language contained in the bill contends there are several reasons this needs to happen now: A) Modern medical research “has discovered a beneficial use for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain” or symptoms caused by certain medical conditions; B) 99 percent of all marijuana arrests are made under state, not federal, law, and C) several other states—Vermont, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, California, etc.—have already enacted such policies for the health and welfare benefits of their citizens.
One must qualify as a candidate for medicinal marijuana by a licensed doctor and must then retain a registry identification card from the state to use. The substance may be used by him/herself, or may be administered by a parent/guardian. In addition, the 1972 “Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act” won’t apply to the patient. The bill states conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, treatment that has resulted in seizures, nausea and other “weakening medical condition[s]” recognized by licensed medical authorities as being treatable with marijuana are applicable under the law.
Here are some highlights quoted directly from the bill:
“A qualifying patient shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denied the right or privilege…for the medical use of marijuana, provided that the patient possesses a registry identification card and no more than six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana.”
“Possession of, or application for, a registry identification card shall not alone constitute probably cause to search a person or property of a person possessing or applying for the…card.”
“A physician shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege…by the State Board of Medicine for providing written certification for the medical use of marijuana to a qualifying patient.”
“No person shall be subject to arrest or prosecution…for simply being in the vicinity of the medical use of marijuana as permitted under this act.”
Last year’s Senate and House bills were titled the “Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.” So far it’s unknown how much support there’s going to be in Harrisburg when this thing gets under way, but in 2010, the bill was essentially put on the back burner.
According to a Quinnipiac Public Opinion poll conducted around the time last year’s bills were introduced, 59 percent of Pennsylvanians favored legalizing medicinal marijuana.