Pennsylvania Considers Medical Marijuana Legalization
September 8th, 2014
Policy, Top News
Pennsylvania may become the next state to legalize medical marijuana as the senate prepares to reconvene on September 15th. Senate Bill 1182, titled the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, passed the senate’s Law and Justice Committee unanimously on June 27th and will now be up for vote in the Appropriations Committee and then the general body.
The state would add to the 23 existing states and Washington D.C. that have already enacted some form of legalized marijuana for medical use. Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania remain the key battleground states for activists that have pending medical marijuana legislation that could become divisive issues moving into the 2014 mid-term elections coming up this November.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll taking in March, 85% of Pennsylvanian voters support some form of medical marijuana legalization. The broad support surpasses many other states that have already successfully implemented laws. Still, the governor is widely expected to veto any legalization bill given his tough stance on the drug that stands along party lines.
The bill could still pass – despite a governor’s veto – if it can obtain a super majority of votes. Supporters of the bill say that it will provide people with an alternative to other medications that are either not working or produce terrible side effects. In addition, the bill could improve the quality of recreational cannabis in the region, which suffers from substandard and potentially dangerous qualities.
Of course, even with the state legalization, Pennsylvania would suffer from the fact that marijuana remains illegal on a federal level. While the Department of Justice has all but green-lighted state-wide legalizations, there’s still an ever-present risk of crackdowns on the part of the Drug Enforcement Administration. These trends have kept widespread legalization out of reach for the time being.
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