Pennsylvania Launches Medical Marijuana Program

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After signing the bill, Wolf said today is "a great day for Pennsylvanians." Photo: Jessica Kourkounis/2015 Getty Images

After signing a series of LGBT nondiscrimination orders earlier this month, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf today signed a bill that legalizes medical marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. The state is the 24th to enact a legal medical-marijuana program, and although it could take regulators up to two years to draft rules for retailers, a provision in the bill lets parents administer medical marijuana to their kids immediately. As Democratic senator Daylin Leach, who co-sponsored the bill, told the Associated Press, “Marijuana is medicine, and it’s coming to Pennsylvania.” 

Like New Yorkers, residents of Pennsylvania will need a prescription to obtain medical marijuana, and they’re prohibited from smoking or growing it. They can, however, take it in pill, oil, vapor, ointment, or liquid form. The bill also puts a system in place for tracking marijuana plants and certifying physicians, growers, and dispensaries.

Although medical marijuana is legal in many East and West Coast states, most central and southern states have yet to pass bills enacting their own programs. Wolf said his state’s program was established in response to “a real human need.” He went on, “When you have people who represent a cause as eloquently and in as heartfelt a way as the advocates for this have done, it shows that we can actually get something done that means something.”