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Monday is the last day for House of Representatives to vote on the Pennsylvania state medical marijuana bill before the end of the 2014 legislative session for the state. Unfortunately, that lack of time doesn’t bode well for activists who were hoping the medical marijuana bill could pass the House in this session.
The Pennsylvania medical cannabis bill, also known as Senate Bill 1182 (or SB 1182), had already been substantially changed in the process of passing the Senate. The bill, at least in its original form, had received the support of many organizations, including veterans from around the state who struggle with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), but that wasn’t enough to inspire Pennsylvania politicians to join the near-majority of states that allow medical marijuana. Despite prolonged discussion and dissection of the bill in the Senate, members of the House of Representatives also wanted lengthy debate and analysis on a bill that was supported by the majority of Pennsylvanians.
Of course, by the time it reached the House of Representatives, Senate Bill 1182 was already waning in popularity, as many activists were disgusted with changes made late in the Senate approval process. Those changes included removing smoking and vaporizing from the bill, effectively keeping that form of ingestion illegal, and removing HIV/AIDS as a qualifying medical condition for a medical marijuana recommendation.
Lawmakers and medical marijuana activists in Pennsylvania are already hopefully eyeing the 2015-16 session, which begins in January, but for many patients in Pennsylvania, that may be too little, too late. While state Senators and Representatives attempt to posture and use this law and the debate surrounding it to further their career, citizens in Pennsylvania are suffering, dying, or leaving the state in desperation.
For previous Ladybud Magazine coverage of Pennsylvania’s attempt to pass a medical marijuana law, click here.
Photo Credit: Richard C. Kelsey under public domain via Wikimedia Commons