Could Medical Marijuana Soon Be Legal in Pennsylvania?
Over the past several years, a number of states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, including Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. And to date, 23 states allow for the medical use of marijuana, a number that will likely increase in the near future.
Pennsylvania could be joining the list as a bill to legalize medical marijuana heads to the state senate. This is not the first time legislators have proposed a bill of this kind, with other attempts previously failing to pass muster in the state house of representatives. Once again, lawmakers expect this newly expanded and comprehensive bill to pass the senate, but it is unclear how successful it will be in the other chamber. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he supports the measure.
The new bill is an updated version of previous efforts, with illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses added to the conditions treatable with medical marijuana. Additionally, the bill has been amended so that individuals can use vaporizing as a form of intake if a treating physician prescribes it. The bill also allows for the use of medical marijuana through oils, ointments, tinctures and nebulizers, but does not provide for smoking it.
Recreational use remains strictly prohibited
Although this legislation could clear the way for medical marijuana use in Pennsylvania, it is still illegal to use marijuana for recreational purposes. If caught, violators may face severe penalties, including fines and even possible incarceration. Even for those caught in possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana, the consequences could be a $500 fine and 30 days in jail. First-time offenders are eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program (ARD), but it’s not automatic.
Even as other states begin to reduce the penalties for recreational marijuana use, Pennsylvania’s laws remain strict on the issue. If you are arrested for drug possession, work with Attorney David R. Eshelman today.