Medical Marijuana Pits Pennsylvania Legislature Against Governor

When the Pennsylvania Senate reconvenes on Sept 15, one of the first items on the agenda will be the passage of medical marijuana, The Daily Pennsylvanian reports.

Just before the recess, on June 27, the bipartisan Senate Bill was passed by the Law and Justice Committee without contest. It has yet to go through the Appropriations Committee before being passed to the general body. According to a poll conducted in March 2014, 85 percent of voters in Pennsylvania support some form of medical marijuana, although the Republican Gov. Tom Corbett remains opposed, except in the most limited of circumstances—for children with seizure disorders.

Advocates understand that they most likely need a super majority in order to override a veto from the governor.

“We are planning on hopefully moving out of appropriations on Sept. 15 and on to a full Senate floor vote on Sept. 16 … and get it over to the House as soon we can,” Republican state Sen. Mike Folmer, one of the bill’s sponsors said. “We have the votes, but we just need to get through the political process, and that can be very slow because our system of government is never really meant to be fast.”

One of the benefits of legalization for most users is that the quality and safety of black market marijuana would rise, too, as dealers would likely obtain access to dispensaries. The variety of products they would have access to would be fully labeled for percentage of THC and information on strains. However, even if the law were to pass, changes are not expected to be forthcoming at the University of Pennsylvania, where it remains prohibited.

“The bill gives people an alternative to some of these other medications that are out there that are either not working, or people just don’t like the side effects,” Folmer said. “It’s probably one of the best pieces of medical cannabis bills in the country, and it could be used as model legislation.”

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