This week, a Pennsylvania state Senate committee unanimously passed a bill that would legalize marijuana for specific medical purposes, effectively nullifying in practice the federal prohibition on the same. The vote was 10-0.

Introduced by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) with 27 bipartisan co-sponsors, Senate Bill 3 (SB3) would set up a program to distribute medical marijuana to certain eligible patients, something federal law considers illegal. The bill also contains a reciprocity provision that would allow medical marijuana patients from other states to qualify under the Pennsylvania program.

The bill passed through the House State Government Committee unanimously with an 10-0 vote on April 21. It must now pass through the House Appropriations Committee before it can receive a vote in the full state Senate.

SB3 would create a State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing program that would allow the growing and dispensing of medical marijuana by licensed individuals for use by qualifying patients. The board would be able to license up to 65 medical marijuana processors.

Qualifying conditions include cancer, epilepsy and seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cachexia/wasting syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury and postconcussion syndrome, multiple sclerosis, spinocerebellara Ataxia (SCA), posttraumatic stress disorder, severe fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma.

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