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PA Senate Passes Legal Weed Bill, Shows Their Ignorance In Its Specifics

Pennsylvania could become the 24th state (well, technically it’s a Commonwealth) to allow some form of legalized Marijuana for medical patients. The bill passed 43-7 on Wednesday, “[a]fter an emotionally charged debate,” according to NBC Philadelphia.

The bill comes after Pennslyvania Senator Daylin Leach visited Colorado and even admitted to trying “a couple of hits” of vaporized marijuana oil. Yet, despite passage of the bill some say that it doesn’t go far enough. The Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill would allow oils, tinctures, and edibles, but not the sale of unprocessed marijuana or the very “vape pen” that Sen. Leach sampled.

It remains unclear why PA would restrict patients to edibles and the like, when they could likely grow their own medicine, other than for money-making reasons. This is the state, after all, that insists that almost all liquor to be sold through state-run stores.

Unless they are so out-of-touch that they simply don’t know, eating marijuana often provides far more intense and longer-lasting reactions than when it is smoked. Also, because of it’s distinctive smell in its natural state, these other substances would be more difficult to spot when in the hands of children or young adults. So to suggest it’s for any kind of regulatory reason other than ensuring maximum financial return from the state seems naive.

However, because the bill still faces stiff opposition from Governor Tom Corbett and PA House Republicans, the odd restrictions may be meant to give the pre-nascent industry in the state the veneer of legitimacy. Sending the image of pleasant bakeries rather than head-shops with jars of oddly-named pot and rural PA teenagers with dreadlocks by the dozens.

Ultimately, for combat veterans with PTSD or TBI, people with multiple sclerosis, and other diseases (although not cancer, HIV, or the ubiquitous glaucoma) this is a bit of welcome news. Also, if not bungled by those in Harrisburg, it could lead to broader availability for the ill and perhaps, at the very least, widespread decriminalization of the drug itself in the state.

About the author

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. Along with news and current events, he writes about parenting, art, and personal stories. His serial fiction story "The Prophet Hustle" is available at JukePop.com and a forthcoming independent ebook about the cam-modeling industry "Dirty Little Windows" will be available later this summer.