Legislation legalizing medical marijuana was passed by the Pennsylvania House in a 149-43 vote on Wednesday, Patch reported.
The new legislation would regulate the growth and distribution of the drug, which patients could take in pill, liquid or oil form. Patients would not be allowed to smoke the drug.
Some of the diseases and illnesses that could qualify for medical marijuana treatment include “cancer, epilepsy, autism, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, glaucoma and chronic or intractable pain,” according to Fox 29.
Lawmakers and advocates volleyed the issue back and forth over several days of debates, amendment voting and passionate speeches such as one from Rep. Jim Cox.
"Today we have the opportunity of offering hope to the parents of these children, to the patients, offering the hope of letting them, along with their doctors, decide how to best treat the conditions they're dealing with on a daily basis," Rep. Cox said.
Others were worried that the bill opened the door for those who weren’t sick to obtain the drug, and some worried about bypassing federal law.
"We're setting the path to bypass the FDA product approval process, whether the drugs are good or bad. We're saying we're willing to circumvent that process, a process that's been in place for over 100 years, because it's what's needed now,” Majority Whip Bryan Cutler argued.
The bill now heads to the Senate which is expected to pass it, having approved a similar bill last year.
Gov. Tom Wolf, an advocate for legalization, applauded the actions of the House in a statement:
“I applaud the Pennsylvania House for passing legislation to legalize medical marijuana, and I look forward to the Senate sending the bill to my desk. We will finally provide the essential help needed by patients suffering from seizures, cancer and other illnesses.”
According to Patch, if the legislation is passed, Pennsylvania will join 23 other states where medical marijuana is legal.
Matt Lee is a web producer for Metro New York. He writes about almost everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on Twitter so he doesn’t feel lonely: @off_Yellow.