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What is included in the medical marijuana bill?

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives went into session at 11 a.m., and it is expected to vote on a bill legalizing the medical use of marijuana bill at some point today, according to a recent tweet by House Democrats.

If the House passes the bill today, it will return to the state Senate for a final review of the amendments.

The Senate then must approve the revised bill before it goes to Gov. Tom Wolf, who has promised to sign it as soon as it lands on his desk.

The House has made more than 200 amendments to the bill since the Senate passed it to them in 2014.

Here are some basic details about what is currently included in Senate Bill 3:

There are now 15 illnesses mentioned in the bill.

This week, House amendments added autism and sickle cell anemia to the list of illnesses that would be treatable under the medical marijuana bill, according to Russ Cersosimo, director of strategic alliances at the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society.

The Harrisburg-based nonprofit’s members include physicians, nurses, researchers, entrepreneurs and advocates.

Other illnesses treatable under the bill include cancer, HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable seizures and glaucoma.

Also covered would be “severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opioid therapy is contradicted or ineffective.”

There will be no edible medical marijuana available to patients.

Patients would be able to obtain medical marijuana in many forms including oil, tincture, pills, gels, creams and ointments.  

It could be inhaled by patients through a vaporizer or a nebulizer, Cersosimo said.

Smoking is not an approved method of ingestion under this bill.

There could be up to 130 dispensaries in Pennsylvania.

The bill would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to patients per a health care practitioner’s instructions.

Patients approved for medical marijuana would be issued ID cards annually, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health would regulate the price of medical marijuana.

The bill also specifies that growers of medical marijuana would need to be licensed to supply it for distribution to processors and dispensers, and the number of growers would be limited to no more than 65 licensees.

Lenay Ruhl

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