Senate panel advances medical marijuana bill

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HARRISBURG – People who need marijuana for medical conditions inched closer to being able to get the drug legally following a unanimous vote Friday in a Pennsylvania Senate committee.


The Law and Justice Committee approved a bill that would allow marijuana to be grown, processed and dispensed, with oversight by a state Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing.


“I’m not claiming victory here,” said a prime sponsor, Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon. “We won a battle, we have not won the war, and I’m asking (the) leadership for that same support, to keep this bill moving forward.”


Under the proposal, state residents would need a $100 access card from the Health Department after proving they have a practitioner-patient relationship and written confirmation of a qualifying medical condition.


A variety of drug delivery methods are permitted under the bill, including extracted oil, edible products and vapor.


Another sponsor, Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, said he thinks there are about 45 votes in the Senate, enough to override a promised veto from Gov. Tom Corbett. Corbett has said he will only support the use of a marijuana extract to treat severe seizures in children.


Leach said he was optimistic the bill will get a floor vote before lawmakers leave Harrisburg for the summer.


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