HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf will sign medical cannabis legislation into law this weekend, making Pennsylvania the 24th state to legalize marijuana for therapeutic purposes.
The state House passed the bill Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 149-46. Wolf will sign it Sunday afternoon at the Capitol.
This shows this system can deliver a good public policy for Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said after the vote, speaking to parents who fought years for the right to give medical marijuana to children suffering from debilitating seizures. “This is something that actually is not a Republican or a Democrat thing. This is not something that is left or right. This is something that’s just good for Pennsylvania, and we all came together and promoted something.”
“This has always been about the patients,” Senate Bill 3 co-author Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) said. “This is their day.”
The legislation allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with 17 qualified medical conditions including cancer, epilepsy, autism, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Medical marijuana would be dispensed as a pill, oil, topical form or in a form appropriate for vaporization or nebulization. Smoking marijuana wouldn’t be allowed.
Pennsylvania would license up to 25 growers and as many as 50 dispensaries.
“Marijuana is medicine and it’s coming to Pennsylvania,” co-sponsor Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) said. “Children with intractable epilepsy, veterans with PTSD, grandparents with cancer, and thousands of other sick Pennsylvanians will finally get the help they need.”
Wednesday’s final vote came nearly a year after the measure was first approved in the Senate. Its authors expect it’ll take another two years to write regulations and open retailers.
In the meantime, a safe harbor provision allows parents to provide medical marijuana to their child if they buy it legally from another state.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.