Last week Pennsylvania officially became the 24th state to legalize cannabis for medical purposes (if you don’t count “CBD-only” states). Activists and politicians in the state have been trying for a few years now to get legal protections for patients and they have finally succeeded.
“I am proud and excited to sign this bill that will provide long overdue medical relief to patients and families who could benefit from this treatment,” PA Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement. “I applaud members of both parties in the House and Senate who have come together to help patients who have run out of medical options and want to thank the thousands of advocates who have fought tirelessly for this cause.”
The plan calls for 50 dispensaries to serve patients in the state, patients that can qualify for medical cannabis by suffering from one or more 17 ailments. Smokable and edible cannabis will not be sold in dispensaries; patients will only be able to buy pills, oil or topical salves.
While medical cannabis will be tax-free, no home growing is allowed under the plan. So in the end what this plan really amounts to is a good foundation for activists to build on; now they can focus on broadening the ailments list and getting home growing legalized.
What must be watched out for is complacency, on the part of activists and politicians. This is not the time to sit back and celebrate what has been accomplished and say “that’s good enough;” this is the time to plan the next step, the step that will bring even more cannabis access to patients in Pennsylvania.
Momentum is only as good as the people who use it to advance their cause. The momentum of the last 6 years cannot be wasted. Let the news of Pennsylvania go forth as we all acknowledge there is more work to be done.