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Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Stalls; Unlikely To Get Vote This Year

PennsylvaniaMedicalMarijuana(MedicalJane)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House have roadblocked a bill which would have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes in the Keystone State.

The GOP caucus does want to take a look at the medicinal cannabis bill that passed the Pennsylvania Senate last week, including holding public hearings, according to staffers for House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County), reports Charles Thompson at The Patriot-News. But that means there is almost no chance the bill, which passed the Senate on an overwhelming 43-7 vote and is being referred to the House Judiciary Committee, will reach the House floor this year.

That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been watching, according to Turzai's press secretary, Steve Miskin, who noted the Senate took nearly a year to develop the bill. It would be unrealistic "and irresponsible to just rubber-stamp a bill that creates an entire new bureaucracy" in less than two weeks, he said.

Turzai doesn't like to run bills that don't have support of the majority of the GOP caucus in the House, and it's not yet clear that a majority of Republicans support the bill. Additionally, with Gov. Tom Corbett preferring a much more limited version of "medical marijuana trials," House leaders reportedly don't want to drop a controversial bill in his lap in the last month of his reelection campaign.

Pennsylvania: Lawmakers To Consider Medical Marijuana Next Week

PennsylvaniaMMJ

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pennsylvania lawmakers will begin discussing a medical marijuana bill when the Legislature convenes next week, according to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi.

Pileggi, a Republican from Chester, Pennsylvania, said on Wednesday that he plans to caucus a medical marijuana bill after lawmakers return for the fall session, reports Christina Kauffman at The Patriot-News.

Senate Bill 1182, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County), passed 11-0 from the Senate Law and Justice Committee in June.

Pileggi said the medical marijuana bill has "broad support" in the Senate, and next week's discussion will decide whether to go forward with a vote of the full chamber.

Folmer on Wednesday said he believes he has the votes of 45 of the state's 50 senators, but the bill could face tougher going in the House of Representatives and with Governor Tom Corbett, who must sign it before it becomes law.

The final document is expected to be broader than a version the Governor previously said he would support, according to Pileggi.

Pharmaceutical companies are among the bill's strongest opposition, according to Folmer (no surprise there, medical marijuana threatens their profits), but Folmer said cannabis-derived treatments come without the life-threatening side-effects of many prescribed pharmaceuticals.

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