By Derrick Stanley
The Pennsylvania Senate moved Monday to finish a bill to legalize medical marijuana, a measure that has been on hold since last month.
The bill had already been approved by the House; the Senate added a few technical changes. The legislation could be presented to Governor Tom Wolf for his approving signature this week.
"I believe everyone is acting in good faith, but I will be holding my breath until the final vote is taken," said Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), who, with Republican Sen. Mike Folmer of Lebanon County, has endorsed the bill.
If the measure is passed, Pennsylvania would join New Jersey and 23 other states that have approved medical marijuana. It would allow people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, intractable seizures, and other conditions to obtain marijuana in pill, oil, or ointment form at dispensaries statewide.
Under the legislation, dispensaries will have to be licensed by the state, as well as those who grow and process medical cannabis, Doctors who prescribe it as a treatment will have to register as practitioners, and patients who want to use it will be given ID cards that would be renewed yearly.
"We have to see what they send us," House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said. "Our goal is to get a bill to the governor's desk."