Many countries consider marijuana as illegal, but some governments have already approved the medical use of it, including the state of Pennsylvania.
The state's House of Representatives has approved legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes with a 149-46 vote. This bill will make Pennsylvania the 24th state in the United States to legalize medical marijuana.
The 80-page bill is now on the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who promised to sign the bill on April 17.
"Today the House passed SB3, sending the medical marijuana legalization bill to my desk. 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," said Wolf.
Opinion polls have shown that more than 88 percent of the state's population agrees on using medical marijuana.
"Every day we roll the dice on our child's or our loved one's life," said Christine Brann, who has a son with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and severe type of epilepsy.
She added that without the medical marijuana law in Pennsylvania, it is like a risk that their child might not survive another day.
"Marijuana is medicine and it's coming to Pennsylvania," said Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Penn.), who is one of the bill's sponsors.
Medical marijuana advocates have long been clamoring for this bill, if passed, it will benefit those who are looking for an alternative treatment for conditions such as epilepsy, autism, seizures and nausea.
The Pennsylvania Senate bill, through the Department of Health, will allow, regulate and monitor the growing, distribution, taxing, regulating and use of medical marijuana.
However, medical marijuana can only be dispensed and used in the form oil, liquid or tincture, pill, topical cream, gel, ointment and medical form of nebulization or vaporization. It cannot be smoked.
Patients who have one of the 17 conditions highlighted by the bill, such as cancer and Parkinson's disease, which recognize the use medical marijuana as a part of treatment, must first obtain a certification from their respective registered physician.
Pennsylvania would license 25 growers and 50 dispensaries, which must be located more than 1,000 feet away from schools and needs to follow zoning laws. Unfortunately, patients are not allowed to raise their own marijuana plants.
The state will regulate and monitor the flow and use of marijuana in the area through maintaining a database on the ins and outs of the drug from growers, dispensers, advertisers, users and those who prescribe them to the patients.
Medical marijuana will have a 5 percent tax on the gross receipt from dispensaries and growers.
The Department of Health will be involved in all the transactions and regulations of the medical marijuana.
Photo: Guilhem Vellut | Flickr