HARRISBURG – House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) today joined an overwhelming majority of his colleagues in supporting legislation to permit the controlled use of medical marijuana/cannabis in Pennsylvania.
The House of Representatives approved an amended version of Senate Bill 3 by a vote of 149-46. The legislation now heads to Gov. Tom Wolf, who has said he will sign it into law.
The bill ensures the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is tightly regulated with strong safeguards to prevent its abuse. Among other things, the measure would establish criminal penalties for the diversion of the drug and the falsification of identification cards that would only be issued to patients and caregivers.
The legislation would allow medical marijuana to be prescribed by physicians and administered only in pills, oils, liquids, topical forms, tinctures or through vaporization, to patients suffering from 16 serious medical conditions. Those conditions include cancer, AIDS, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease and severe chronic pain. The new law would take effect 30 days after enactment.
Reed issued the following statement regarding the bill’s passage:
“Today’s vote is a significant and emotional milestone for those who have spent the past several years advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana to help ease the suffering of patients throughout Pennsylvania with painful and debilitating illnesses.
“At one time, I was opposed to the idea of allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana. But after researching the issue, reviewing the laws in other states and reading about the struggles of families the drug would help, I came to realize that it is wrong to withhold something that could benefit so many.
“The General Assembly has struggled to come up with an acceptable piece of legislation, but I am confident Senate Bill 3 provides all the necessary protections to prevent the abuse of medical marijuana, including its unavailability in leaf form. This new health care program will be closely monitored and if there are found to be weaknesses in the law down the road, we can certainly make any necessary revisions.
“This was not an easy bill to bring to the finish line, but working together in another bipartisan way, we succeeded for the sake of those sick and suffering Pennsylvanians who have had to wait far too long for this life-saving medicine.”