PLBC supports house-passed medical marijuana bill

HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, announced that the members of the PLBC strongly supported today's House passage of an amended version of S.B. 3, which would permit the use of various forms of marijuana for medical treatment upon a doctor's prescription.

"This is a crucial step with potential health benefits for many residents, especially children, who may have no other medical options to treat their illnesses," Brown said.

The bill which passed today included four amendments authored by PLBC members:

  • A6000, authored by Rep. Margo Davidson, added sickle cell anemia to the list of diseases that would be treatable with medical marijuana;
  • A6004, authored by Rep. Ed Gainey, would require the state Department of Health to establish diversity guidelines with respect to employment opportunities in the industry;
  • A6121, authored by Rep. Jake Wheatley, would prohibit a medical marijuana dispensary to be located within 1,000 feet of a public, private or parochial school or day care center unless the dispensary is also located within a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone; and
  • A6124, also authored by Wheatley, would prohibit the establishment of a medical marijuana grower/processor within 1,000 feet of a public, private or parochial school or day care center unless the grower/processor is also located within a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone in Pittsburgh.

"The adopted amendments the PLBC members authored strengthen the bill by providing for more diverse employment opportunities, providing the possibility of medical relief for those who deal with sickle cell illnesses and maintaining a safe distance between proposed medical marijuana facilities and our school students."

The bill, which passed the House this evening with a bipartisan vote, now returns to the Senate for consideration of the amended bill and a vote as to whether to concur with the House amendments.