Decriminalization bill was approved in 2018
On October 9, 2018, for the first time, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to reduce the penalty for simple possession of marijuana to a fine. The bill did not receive a vote before the legislature adjourned in November 2018. Now that the 2019-2020 legislative session is underway, let your state lawmakers know you want them to pass a decriminalization bill.
Given leadership’s opposition to legalization, ending prohibition is likely to be a multi-year effort. In the meantime, the state should at least stop criminalizing cannabis consumers.
From February through May, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman held a statewide listening tour on cannabis legalization and visited all 67 Pennsylvania counties. He reported around 65% support for legalization.
In other exciting news, Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) and 26 cosponsors introduced HB 50, which would relegate cannabis prohibition to the dustbin of history.
Medical marijuana sales are possible since february 2019
February 15, 2018 was an historic day in the Keystone State. Less than two years after the governor signed Act 16 into law, dispensaries began selling medical marijuana to patients and caregivers. Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country. As of February 2019, around 50 dispensaries across the state are operational, with dozens more anticipated.
In another exciting development, on May 12, 2018, the Health Department published revised regulations making several important improvements to the medical cannabis program. The regulations allow patient access to medical cannabis flower and expand qualifying conditions — including substitute therapy for opiate addiction. The changes were all recommended by the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board.
So what exactly was said in last hearing on legalizing marijuana?
In what was likely the first hearing on recreational cannabis in Pennsylvania House history, Republican lawmakers focused on the potential risk to gun owners.
The 67-county tour hit the entire state in less than 100 days, and took input from tens of thousands of state residents.
“We had good participation across the board. And as was always the case, if there was a legislator or even a commissioner who felt really strongly [that] they wanted to speak and share their views, it’s like, here’s the microphone, It was very open in that regard. There wasn’t anybody that participated that left that meeting saying like, ‘wow, I really felt like you steered the conversation.’”
The hearing included law enforcement, as well as representatives from gun rights and gun control groups. They mostly balked on giving an opinion on marijuana legalization, but explained that the existing conflict between state and federal law would create issues for gun owners.
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