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Thursday, September 25, 2014

MMJ Bill SB1182 Passes PA Senate

After being delayed in the Appropriations Committee, SB1182 was finally brought to term and moved to the full Senate for a vote today, Sept. 24th. Originally, this bill included the ability for patients to grow up to six plants at home, and it clearly allowed for the smoking or vaporization of cannabis flower material or concentrates.

Well, that was until the Republicans got their hands on it.

Being able to grow six plants went WAY early. It was struck down and unchallenged. Though it certainly would have allowed access quicker than implementing a control board and dispensary system, growing plants legally still scares the bejeezus out of government shills that get lobby money to keep all drugs illegal, (police, big pharma... the lobby list goes on). So we as activists kind of bent over and took it up the tail pipe on being able to grow here in PA. (**Note - In Colorado, the legalization of cannabis came paired with the freedom to grow up to six plants**)

So here we were resting on our SB1182 - it was one pillar less strong out of the gate, but it was still strong. It had (and has) protections for patients in arenas previously untouched by States with MMJ laws: legally, employers can't fire you in PA for being a MMJ patient. You can't lose custody of your kids for being an MMJ patient according to this bill. While the stigma sticks that cannabis intoxicates an individual beyond the capacity to drive, it was pretty much expected that wording would exclude driving, flying and vehicle privileges while high. What we DIDN'T count on was the stated 10 Nanogram limit on THC in the body of the patient... It didn't stop getting worse there...

So a core group of 5-8 people, (and I use that term loosely) just HAD to amend SB1182 until it was satisfactorily "no fun" - amendments went in that literally bar patients from smoking or vaporizing their cannabis for medicinal purposes. Senator Smucker, out of Lancaster, led the charge against this bill with chiming morons, Pat Vance and Senator Mensch backing his blind attack. Smucker went so far as to actually propose ANOTHER amendment that would have limited SB1182 to CBD only - something ALL activists and Cosponsors were dead set against. Luckily, that amendment got utterly crushed, and the Senate did end up passing SB1182.

Enemy of the State of Pennsylvania (Or at least Enemy to the 85% Supporting Cannabis Law Reform)

Now it's a steady march to the House, where plenty of doubtful media outlets are staking money on this bill dying. With such fervent support from activists like Les Stark, who boldly declared on Facebook that this bill WILL be moving through the House to become law, it's hard to think about a future where this hard fought battle fizzles into a retreat on part of the MMJ warriors. Nonetheless, Gov. Corbett has vowed to veto any legislation that reaches him concerning cannabis. A super majority is needed in Congress to nullify Corbett's veto power, and what's impressive is that we just might have it. Either way, come elections in November, Corbett is largely predicted to lose to Tom Wolf, (currently trailing him in polls by nearly 30%). Tom Wolf is a forward-thinking Democrat with a mind to revise PA's archaic approach to cannabis law reform. In fact, the word "legalization" has actually come out of his mouth.

With these advances, it's clear that we're on the winning side of history. We just need to keep on pushing for legislation that takes us closer to a "Pro Full Legalization of Marijuana"  world!

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