HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf has pledged to sign new medical marijuana legislation after it was given final approval in the House of Representatives a second time late Wednesday afternoon.
Loud applause was heard on the House floor as the final vote results came in.
Governor Tom Wolf says he plans to sign the legislation on Sunday at the Pennsylvania State Capitol at approximately 1:00 PM.
Pennsylvania will become the 24th state to pass medical marijuana legislation.
“I think that people deserve the treatment that may help them in any fashion possible,” republican state representative Rosemary Brown said.
The legislation will allow people with 17 diagnosed conditions like cancer, epilepsy and autism to take medical marijuana in pill, oil or liquid form.
Regulation has been a big focus and subject of debate.
Pennsylvania would license up to 25 growers and processors and allow 50 dispensaries which could each have three locations.
“There’s been a lot of safeguards that have been put into the law and I’m sure there will be some provisions down the road that we’re going to have to make changes in but the bottom line is those (sick) kids need it now,” democratic state representative Eddie Day Pashinski said.
Before the House vote Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Senate voted on Tuesday. Lawmakers in the Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill 42-7.
State senator Lisa Baker was the only “no” vote from northeastern Pennsylvania.
She sympathizes with people’s health concerns but says marijuana is still a “Schedule I” narcotic.
“You’re not going to go to the pharmacy. Your doctor is not going to write a prescription. We’re going to set-up a whole infrastructure and network to distribute and process medical marijuana,” state senator Lisa Baker said.
Lawmakers expect it to take about two years before all licenses are given out and people can start buying medical marijuana.
“91-percent of people want to see medical marijuana implemented,” democratic state representative Marty Flynn said.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society opposed the legislation.
As part of the rules, people will not be allowed to smoke or grow their own marijuana.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health will now have to monitor the growth, possession and sale of medical marijuana.
The agency will now have to create a database for people approved to buy it.