Pennsylvania Legislation Would Relax The Restrictions On Medical Marijuana Prescriptions!
Two legislators have made plans for legislation that would deprive the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board of one of its primary duties—deciding which severe medical conditions entitle patients to lawfully consume marijuana products. The idea would allow people to consume marijuana for any medical ailment if their doctors think it would be beneficial for them.
Senators James Brewster, D-Allegheny, and Mike Regan, R-Cumberland, stated in a cosponsor note that “elected officials and bureaucratic workers should not be choosing what ailment qualifies a citizen to use medical marijuana.” The standards under Mr. Regan’s proposal would be comparable to those governing medical marijuana in Oklahoma.
According to the Marijuana Policy Project, in Oklahoma, medicinal marijuana patients accounted for about 10% of the population in 2021. There would be around 1.2 million medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania if that percentage held true.
The latest plan comes at a time when Pennsylvania is increasingly bordered by states where any adult may legally acquire marijuana, but efforts to modify the state’s marijuana regulations for adult recreational marijuana use have been thwarted by resistance from Republican lawmakers. Republicans have the majority in the Senate, whereas Democrats are poised to gain the majority in the state House and may do so by advancing a marijuana legalization measure.
Late last year, Senate President Pro Tem Kim Ward, a Republican from Westmoreland, told reporters that she preferred to see federal legislation on the subject; she noted that Pennsylvania’s new U.S. Sen. John Fetterman had been a steadfast supporter of marijuana legalization. New York, New Jersey, and Maryland have already legalized marijuana use for adult recreational purposes.
Ohio and Delaware may possibly be heading toward legalizing marijuana use for adult recreational purposes. The Senate Law and Justice Committee’s two chairs are Mr. Regan and Mr. Brewster. Mr. Regan stated in the memo that he supports the legalization of adult use of marijuana and that he intends to continue “a conversation on building a responsible adult-use marketplace.”
However, he added that the decision to expand the medical marijuana program makes sense in the interim, especially given that the state wants to reduce the number of people who enter neighboring states to purchase marijuana. They also advocate for abolishing the yearly renewal cost that people who use medical marijuana must pay.
“Cost is already a barrier that drives medical patients to the black market, exposing them to a harmful product that might be tainted with toxins or chemicals like fentanyl that can cause further health problems,” they stated. 423,443 patients were actively registered in the program as of November. The Department of Health has only authorized a little more than 2,000 doctors to certify patients who want to use marijuana for medical purposes.