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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 24, 2023 11:00 AM
From: Senator Mike Regan and Sen. James R. Brewster
To: All Senate members
Subject: Medical Marijuana Act Updates
As I have worked with the medical marijuana industry on the subject of legalizing adult-use marijuana, many of our conversations have touched on how we can improve our existing Medical Marijuana Program. 
Additionally, the Senate Law and Justice Committee held three hearings in 2022, one of which was fully dedicated to Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program.  Patients and permittees expressed a number of concerns and issues surrounding the program. 
I have met with the new Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana, and I am encouraged by her initiative to alleviate some of the issues that arose under the previous leadership (see attached for reference). While I do applaud the Director’s vision, that position is a gubernatorial appointment, and any future Director could reverse course.
Therefore, as Chairs of the Law and Justice Committee Senator Brewster and I plan to introduce new legislation this session to enact changes to the Medical Marijuana Act that will ensure the continued growth and success of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana industry for the benefit of patients and permit holders alike.
While I remain committed to working with my colleagues to have a conversation on building a responsible adult-use marketplace, there are ways that we can make our current program more efficient. We will be working with stakeholders to ensure inclusion of all necessary updates, but to start, this legislation will require Senate confirmation for the Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana.
Additionally, elected officials and bureaucratic staffers should not be deciding what ailment qualifies an individual to use medical marijuana.  Our proposal will eliminate the list of qualifying conditions and allow a patient’s doctor – any doctor authorized to prescribe controlled substances – to make that decision.  The bill will also eliminate the need for renewing a medical marijuana card. Cost is already a hindrance that pushes medical patients to the illicit market, which exposes them to a dangerous product that can be laced with substances such as fentanyl or toxins that can cause further health problems. Finally, this legislation will take a look at license parity for grower/processors across the Commonwealth.
I have driven home the need to take on the drug cartels while providing Pennsylvanians with a safe, trustworthy product that is not cost prohibitive.  We can still achieve those goals within our existing medical marijuana program and prevent residents from crossing into states that have legalized adult-use marijuana, but to do so we must update the law and make needed changes to the existing Medical Marijuana Program.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation that will allow our medical marijuana program to thrive and better serve its patients.

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Introduced as SB835