After many months of backroom politics and delays, Pennsylvania lawmakers are expected to vote on legalizing medical marijuana in March.
The state House is expected to vote on a bill that was overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate.
But the Senate bill, SB 3, has been substantially amended and could well need to return to the Senate for another vote.
Latricia Bentch of Swatara Towship, who wants medical marijuana to treat her daughter’s severe seizures, said the latest version of the bill contains many but not all of the things sought by parents and others with sick loved ones.
“We’re not going to get perfection when it comes over the finish line … What we’ve been assured is that we’ll get a solid program we can build on, a solid foundation,” she said.
The latest version of the bill includes 15 medical conditions that could be treated with medical marijuana — slightly more than previous versions. These include epilepsy, chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder, HIV and AIDS, ALS, Chron’s disease and glaucoma.
One addition not favored by Bentch and many other advocates is a ten percent limit on the amount of THC in medical marijuana. THC is the ingredient in marijuana that causes the high.
The limit is intended to reduce the possibility of medical marijuana being consumed for recreational use. Advocates fear the THC cap will limit potential medications and benefits for patients.
The bill would initially allow up to 25 licensed grower/processors and 50 licensed dispensaries, with dispensaries allowed to operate up to three locations.
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