The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin) will enshrine in law numerous temporary policies adopted by the state Department of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as recommendations from a state advisory board.
Among the changes are approval for curbside pick-up of marijuana prescriptions, increasing the maximum supply one can collect from 30 to 90 days, and expanding who can fill orders for a patient.
Schemel told the Capital-Star his bill puts medical marijuana “more in line with pharmaceuticals in a pharmacy. I’m supportive of that.”
The proposal also would allow people with misdemeanor criminal charges to work in the industry. An individual with felony narcotics charges could also work in medical marijuana if at least ten years had passed since they committed the act.
The proposal passed the state Senate 47-3 on Friday evening. In the upper chamber, marijuana advocates attempted to amend the bill with a measure allowing patients to home grow up to five cannabis plants.
“This would create additional affordability for so many Pennsylvanians,” said state Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), who sponsored the change. But the proposal was tabled by the Republican majority.
State Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie), who has been working with Street on changes to the state medical marijuana law, tweeted on June 25 that he spoke to the GOP caucus to try to get the home grow amendment passed, but that tabling the amendment was the best he could argue for.
Less than an hour later, the bill passed the House by a vote of 165-36, and went to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.
Stephen Caruso is a reporter with the Pennsylvania Capital Star, where this story first appeared.