The Truth About Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Bill SB1182

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Pennsylvania’s “Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act,” SB 1182, is a broad and comprehensive medical cannabis bill that does not place any restrictions on THC content and does not limit medical cannabis access to adults.

A number of media outlets have reported incorrect information about this bill, comparing it to pending CBD-only legislation in states like Utah and Florida. Advocates in Pennsylvania are currently working to correct misconceptions among patients, politicians, and media outlets.

Derek Rosenzweig of Philly NORML wrote an excellent summary of SB 1182 for the organization’s blog. The discussion of CBD and Charlotte’s Web in Rosenzweig’s article is Rosenzweig’s own editorial commentary about potential options for patients, and NOT part of the bill’s text, as assumed by some media outlets.

The actual text of SB 1182 defines CBD (cannabidiol) as follows:

“Cannabidiol” or “CBD.” A main cannabinoid present in the naturally growing populations and in the industrially cultivated varieties of Cannabis sativa L which is not psychoactive and has several pharmacological properties, including acting as a powerful anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antioxidant compound.

Nowhere else in the bill is there any further mention of CBD (cannabidiol) or any restrictions in THC content. The bill includes no mention of Charlotte’s Web whatsoever.

Qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV/AIDS. Additionally, patients qualify if they have “a chronic or attenuating disease or medical condition or its treatment” that causes cachexia (wasting syndrome), severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, or intractable pain.

It is important to note too that the bill specifies qualification for any patient who has “any other medical condition or its treatment that is recognized by licensed medical authorities attending to a patient as being treatable with cannabis in a manner that is superior to treatment without cannabis.” In other words, if a patient’s physician agrees that medical marijuana would be beneficial, the patient would qualify.

Advocates from Pennsylvania are pleased with the bill’s inclusiveness and believe that it would allow all patients who would benefit from medical marijuana to qualify for the program, unlike other more restrictive states like New Jersey.

“We want people with all medical conditions to benefit from quality medication,” says Dana Ulrich, a Pennsylvania parent who worked with legislators to help craft the bill’s text. “This bill was written with no strain restrictions or mention of Charlotte’s Web.”

Ulrich has been contacting media outlets who have reported incorrectly on the scope of the bill.

It is important to remember, though, that the bill has not yet been brought to a vote before the legislature, and before that happens, the current text will likely see some changes.

This past Monday, Ladybud spoke with Senator Daylin Leach, sponsor of SB 1182, who confirmed that CBD-only legislation is not on the plate for Pennsylvania. Leach explained that that the current bill does not specify any cannabinoid restrictions, and is truly broad-based medical marijuana legislation that will “help as many patients as humanly possible.”

“I drafted a perfect bill because you always draft what’s aspirational,” Sen. Leach told Ladybud. “and likely it will go through some changes. But it’s not a CBD-specific bill. If it comes to vote, it will not be that.”

In discussions with other Pennsylvania legislators prior to the bill’s drafting, Leach explained, “Some of the Republicans said they’d only go along with a CBD bill. But we’ve moved beyond CBD-only legislation. It’s no longer being discussed.”

Advocates should also be aware that even if the current version of SB 1182 passes, there will likely be further regulations imposed before its implementation.

In summary, it is critical that advocates understand the current version of the bill and continue to lobby for the preservation of its thoroughness throughout both the legislative process and the regulatory process that will follow its passage.

You can read the full text of the SB 1182 here.