More than a year ago, SB 1182, a legislation that would allow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, was stonewalled and did not make it to the House floor. Medical marijuana advocates and supporters see a glimmer of hope now that Senate Bill 3 had garnered the support of both Democrats and Republicans. Senate Bill 3 is almost identical to SB 1182, a bill which passed the Senate in 2014 by a vote of 43-7 but was turned down by House.
Bill 3 is being backed by Governor Tom Wolf and has 25 co-sponsors, including 14 Democrats and 11 Republicans. In 2014, Pennsylvania lawmakers streamlined the list of conditions to qualify for legal medical use to patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer and seizures, among others. The qualifying condition was cut from 45 to 10, disregarding illnesses such as glaucoma, chronic neuropathic pain and HIV/AIDS.
Pennsylvania is knocking on the door of legislation to join 23 other states and Washington D.C. that have legalized marijuana for medical treatment. Last 2014, New York, Maryland and Minnesota passed their legal marijuana bills. Expectedly, states differ in laws on legal marijuana that include aspects pertaining to the quantity a person can buy, medical conditions of the patient and requirements for purchase.
Among the salient points of Bill 3 are as follows:
- Creation a board of state officials and medical professionals that would be charged with implementing the state's medical marijuana law.
- Licensing requirements for anyone who grows, processes or dispenses medical cannabis or operates a testing lab
- The licensing fee of $50,000 with a $5,000 renewal fee every year.
Now, that the medical marijuana bill is back on its tracks, the impassioned speech delivered by State Representative Ed Gainey from Pittsburgh last February 25, 2014 help put it in a layman’s perspective. Gainey’ speech probably helped Bill 3 gain traction and inspire both lawmakers and constituents support medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Here is the transcript of State Representative Ed Gainey’s speech:
Good afternoon, how is everybody doing? No. No. We look like we're tired when we should be energized. Good afternoon, how is everybody doing?
Let me hear you give a big hand, and I need the House to hear this so they know how important it is for Senator Folmer and Daylin Leach for their leadership on Senate Bill 3. I need them to hear you one more time, because I need them to understand that we are hear today to talk about people. Lets give it up for the parents who have come together for compassion to get this moving.
A lot of times I think we forgot why we're elected and why we come here. We're elected by the people, for the people to do the work of the people, and one of the main things we are sent to do is make sure we provide relief for people and whatever field we are entering.
In the House today, we have children, we have vets, we have adults impacted by cancer, by post-traumatic stress, by epilepsy, by MS, and we still cant move Senate Bill 3 through the House because of distorted myths that are not true. Today, it got to stop.
We the government and us the people have to work together. We have to work together to make sure everybody understands that medical marijuana is another tool that we can use to help people.
Lets stop with the distorted facts that there is no research, that there is no reports, that it's a schedule one and we want to hide behind the FDA! Lets move everything out of the way and focus on people, and make sure that we provide another form of relief to the people who need it! THAT'S WHAT GOVERNMENT IS ABOUT. THAT'S WHAT GOVERNMENT IS ABOUT
Government is about us, the people. So Senator Folmer is right. We need us. You and I. To come together, and let every House member know right now that we will not be denied. That we will continue to fight for what is right, and that's the relief for the people on Pennsylvania!
If 21 over states are doing it and we know it's working, and we know the addictiveness of opium, the addictiveness of Vicodin, we know that is a hundred times more powerful than medical marijuana. IT'S TIME THAT WE PUT THE DISTORTED FACTS IN THEIR PLACE AND CALL A "LIE A LIE!" AND I'M CALLING EVERYBODY WHO IS MAKING IT SEEM THAT MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS A GATEWAY DRUG TO OTHER ADDICTIVE DRUGS THAT IS A LIE!
Lets do as we were sent to do as representatives. Create relief for the people of Pennsylvania today! Call everybody today and tell them that Senate Bill 3 is alive!