A Group of Republicans, Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin), Rep. Mike Regan (R-York/Cumberland) and Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) are pushing a new legislation to bring medical marijuana to Pennsylvania. It is a more conservative bill which will allow use in pill, oil or vapor form only.
The House Bill 1432:
- Establish a medical cannabis program to be administered by the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.
- Permit a doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy to certify that a patient may use medical cannabis if they are suffering from a serious medical condition. A serious medical condition includes cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s disease.
- Authorize the department to issue counterfeit-proof identification cards to patients and caregivers who may then go to a dispensary owned by a medical cannabis organization to obtain medical cannabis.
- Authorize the department to register as many as five medical cannabis organizations. A medical cannabis organization will grow, process, distribute and sell medical cannabis. Each medical cannabis organization may operate no more than four dispensaries, which are to be wholly owned and operated by the medical cannabis organization. The dispensaries must be geographically disbursed throughout the Commonwealth.
- Establish an excise tax to apply to the sale of medical cannabis, to be paid by medical cannabis organizations. The tax may not be passed onto the patient or caregiver.
- Provide that all fees and taxes be deposited into a Medical Cannabis Program Fund established in the State Treasury. The fund will pay the cost of running the program, as well as for medical research related to the safety and use of medical cannabis. It will also provide grants to district attorneys’ offices, municipal police departments and the Pennsylvania State Police through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and pay for drug and alcohol abuse programs within the Commonwealth.
- Establish criminal penalties for diversion of medical cannabis, the falsification of identification cards and the adulteration of medical cannabis.
- Clarify that no patient, caregiver, medical cannabis organization, or practitioner shall be subject to arrest or penalty or denied any right or privilege for lawful use of medical cannabis.
- Allow medical cannabis to be administered through vaporization or in oil or pill form. Smoking and edibles will be prohibited. Strict limits and testing requirements will apply to the amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, which must be disclosed through plain labeling of medical cannabis products. The bill provides a process for the recall of defective or inaccurately labeled medical cannabis.
- Require medical cannabis organizations to adopt and maintain security, tracking, recording-keeping and surveillance systems related to medical cannabis. It also requires real-time inventory tracking from seed-to-sale.
- Charge the department with the responsibility of providing a written report every two years describing the implementation of the act, an assessment of the benefits and risks to patients receiving medical cannabis, and any recommendations for amendments to the law.
This legislation came about after a bill co-sponsored Daylin Leach (D-Delaware/Montgomery Counties) failed to pass the House last week. Daylin said the new legislation does not do enough and leaves it in the hands of too few. “I’m happy for anyone that wants to get the ball rolling, but I think we should do it aggressively. I mean 5 organizations? I heard of 20 dispensaries, we’re a state of almost 13 million people,” he said.