Adult cannabis use legislation has yet to be formally enacted in the Pennsylvania Legislature this year, but the state’s medical cannabis program expanded on June 30th.
Pennsylvania Governor’s Office | www.governor.pa.gov
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signs law on June 30 to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.
The House Law 1024, signed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf on Wednesday, allows qualified patients the legal possession of up to 90 days of cannabis, an increase over the previously permitted 30-day supply. It also allows patients to continue using roadside delivery services. Both changes were adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the new law makes these provisions permanent.
RELATED: Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Discusses Permanent Adoption of Temporary Regulations Related to COVID-19
In addition, HB 1024 removes the restriction that a nurse may only care for a maximum of five patients and authorizes “synchronous interaction” or doctor-patient remote consultations that take place in real time via audio or video conferences. The law extends the qualification requirements to include cancer remission therapy and damage to the spinal cord or central nervous system with “indications of persistent spasticity and other related neuropathies,” according to the text of the law.
According to the governor, the new bill is in line with recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to revise the medical marijuana bill signed in April 2016.
“It’s been five years since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, and during that time the Department of Health has studied the program’s successes and challenges and made key recommendations to improve the law,” Wolf said in a statement Wednesday. “This legislation provides important updates to our state’s medical marijuana program to ensure patients have improved access to medicines.”
According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marihuana Laws (NORML), more than 340,000 Pennsylvanians participate in the state’s medical cannabis program.
Pennsylvania NORML regional organizer Chris Goldstein told The Associated Press that HB 1024, which first appeared on Jan.
“The law actually contains a lot of industry-friendly provisions, and the most controversial one is to allow the removal of mold in cannabis flowers through extraction into new products,” Goldstein said. “I think you could have heard patient voices there.”
According to the signed legislation, cannabis producers can remove contaminants such as mold or yeast to make products that cannot be inhaled or ingested, such as topicals.
With adequate supplies, there are 125 medical cannabis dispensaries in Pennsylvania with products available by June 30, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
While the final version of the bill passed the House of Representatives 165-36 and the Senate 47-3 in the Republican-controlled legislature, the Upper House voted for the Democratic Sen. Sharif Street’s amendment that aimed at qualifying patients 21 years old allow and older to grow up to five plants at home for personal use. The amendment failed with 29 to 21 votes.
In February, Street and Republican Senator Dan Laughlin, who voted for the Native American amendment, teamed up to announce their collaboration on drafting an adult bill for this term, but they have yet to formally propose that bill.
RELATED: Talks About Adult Cannabis Bills Heat Up In Pennsylvania; Introduction not
Most of the provisions in HB 1024 went into effect immediately after being signed by the governor on June 30th. However, legislation gives the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture 30 days to post the list of pesticides producers and processors can use. This list is updated annually