Thursday, November 5, 2015


Patients were promised the House would vote on compassionate medical cannabis legislation this Fall. It is now November and while no language has been made public, reports about the House draft raise several serious concerns including a 10% THC cap, an explicit prohibition on dried flower and plants, and a regulatory board composed largely of law enforcement instead of medical experts and patient advocates.


Let him or her know that unless these issues are resolved, Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program will be ineffective and patients will not get the medicine that is best for their condition. You can click here to find your representative’s name and Harrisburg number. Below you will find talking points to guide your call.

The House working group passed along reasonable recommendations for the House version of SB3. Many of the flaws in the current draft do not reflect to the work group’s recommendations and lack the components that make for a successful program. We appreciate the efforts of the workgroup, and the work of many House members who are doing their best to ensure the final draft is the best possible program for Pennsylvania patients.

We encourage you, as advocates for a comprehensive medical cannabis program, to call your state representative NOW and express your concerns. Let them know that compassionate use legislation should be focused on the needs of patients and rather than arbitrary rules that reflect the misguided views and lies that stripped this medicine from patients over 70 years ago.

Urge them to tell their leadership that the current House draft needs to be significantly improved in order to create a compassionate program that won’t force sick patients to turn to the black market.

Then, please forward this to other compassionate residents of the Commonwealth. Our legislators need to hear from the 90% of Pennsylvania citizens, who according to Quinnipiac’s most recent polling, are in favor of medical cannabis.


THC Cap:

• Like any other medication or treatment, medical cannabis affects each patient differently. Patients should have access to the treatment that works best for them and a THC cap prohibits countless treatment options.

• High THC medical marijuana has been effective in the treatment of many conditions including severe pain and nausea and Crohn’s disease. Additionally, high THC products can be administered as a rescue medication during status seizures, and is far safer than other existing rescue meds.

• Neither SB3 nor the House workgroup’s recommendations include a cap on THC. It should also be noted that Marinol, is 100% synthetic THC and is completely legal as a prescription medicine under existing federal law.

Whole Plant Prohibition:

• Patients need access to every safe treatment option. For many patients, using dried flower is the most effective form of treatment. Prohibiting it as part of the program will force those patients to either use less effective treatments or acquire their medication through illegal means.

• Many patients who need access to medical marijuana are on fixed incomes due to disabling ailments and high medical bills and insurance will not cover medical cannabis treatment. In many cases dried flower is the least expensive form of medical cannabis.

• Neither SB 3 or the House workgroup’s recommendations explicitly prohibit the use of dried flower.

Advisory Board:

• In its currently proposed form, the advisory board must include representatives from the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, the Commission of Professional and Occupational affairs, the State Police, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police and the District Attorney’s Association. In addition, several medical professionals, whose focus is addiction, are included, but not a single patient or caregiver is included!

• While it is not uncommon for some states to include a representative from the law enforcement community on an advisory board, the majority of the board should be medical professionals, experts, and patients’ rights advocates.

• Appointing law enforcement, and drug and alcohol counselors undermines the medical applications for cannabis and stigmatizes its use as criminal behavior.