Tags Posts tagged with "Pennsylvania"

Pennsylvania

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According to a story that appeared a couple of years back in The Philadelphia Inquirer, law enforcement in Pennsylvania were arresting about 21,000 people each year for possession of cannabis, and another 5,500 for growing marijuana. The column by Chris Goldstein, an editor at Freedom Leaf magazine, cited a report from the RAND Corp. think tank that estimated it costs $1,266 for the handling of every basic misdemeanor marijuana arrest.

That number rises to $8,600 for each prosecution of someone accused of growing the plant. Based on those figures, it predicted that Pennsylvania was spending more than $73 million a year on those cases, and that doesn’t include the costs of jail, prison, and supervision of those sentenced to parole and probation. What if Pennsylvania could not only wipe out those costs, but also gain millions from cannabis?

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the state could earn $200 million a year by permitting recreational cannabis use and taxing it. At a recent news conference the auditor general noted that Colorado, with less than half the population of our state, is pulling in about $129 million annually through taxes on the farming and purchase of cannabis. In Washington state, that figure is $220 million.

DePasquale isn’t foolish enough to think such a move would find easy sledding in our Legislature, which has never had a reputation for being particularly visionary — or productive, for that matter. “It is an entirely fair and appropriate question to say, can this ever happen in Pennsylvania?” he said. In fact, it took years of pleas and protests from advocates before the Legislature finally approved use of medical marijuana in 2016, and that option won’t even be available to those who need it until next year, if all goes well.

House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin stated, “We don’t even have the medical cannabis program up and running yet, so it’s clearly a little premature to jump to the next step. While we’re appreciative of the auditor general’s multiple policy thoughts, as Pennsylvania and the nation is facing a serious drug problem, I’m not sure that legalizing a Schedule I narcotic is the best response.”

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Hemp

Pennsylvania growers are being encouraged to share in a newly developed pilot research program that will add toward a better knowledge of what could be a new cash crop in the state. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding stated, “Hemp has a long history here in Pennsylvania, and we believe it holds a promising future. If we want to realize this crop’s full potential, though, we need the benefit of sound research.”

Industrial hemp was grown commercially in the United States until after World War II. Governments began to outlaw its cultivation in the mid-20th century because of its association with marijuana. Pennsylvania joins states like Kentucky and New York where officials and growers are keeping their focus on the seemingly profitable future of hemp growth. The Department of Agriculture will award $1,000 to successful hemp research program permit recipients to balance out the costs of the project under the cost-share program.

Grain farmer Ammon Carlyle is intrigued by the program. He stated, “I looked up ‘hemp’ online and learned that early in the country’s history it was widely grown and was a way that farmers made money. I plan to make an application to join the project.” Carlyle definitely has the land to hold the project.

Researchers who finish a hemp research project are qualified to apply, as long as the project has been approved by the Department of Agriculture. Under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program guidelines, a maximum of thirty projects of five acres each will be selected for the 2017 growing season. The department will select the projects based on a complete program application. The department will issue a research permit to an institution of higher education or to a person contracted to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The pilot research program follows the state and federal laws that allow industrial hemp to be grown in states where allowed.

The cut off date for Pennsylvania growers to apply for a 2017 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was January 6. Applicants who are approved for research projects will be notified by February 17.

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Pennsylvania growers are being encouraged to share in a newly developed pilot research program that will add toward a better knowledge of what could be a new cash crop in the state. Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding stated, “Hemp has a long history here in Pennsylvania, and we believe it holds a promising future. If we want to realize this crop’s full potential, though, we need the benefit of sound research.”

Industrial hemp was grown commercially in the United States until after World War II. Governments began to outlaw its cultivation in the mid-20th century because of its association with marijuana. Pennsylvania joins states like Kentucky and New York where officials and growers are keeping their focus on the seemingly profitable future of hemp growth. The Department of Agriculture will award $1,000 to successful hemp research program permit recipients to balance out the costs of the project under the cost-share program.

Grain farmer Ammon Carlyle is intrigued by the program. He stated, “I looked up ‘hemp’ online and learned that early in the country’s history it was widely grown and was a way that farmers made money. I plan to make an application to join the project.” Carlyle definitely has the land to hold the project.

Researchers who finish a hemp research project are qualified to apply, as long as the project has been approved by the Department of Agriculture. Under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program guidelines, a maximum of thirty projects of five acres each will be selected for the 2017 growing season. The department will select the projects based on a complete program application. The department will issue a research permit to an institution of higher education or to a person contracted to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The pilot research program follows the state and federal laws that allow industrial hemp to be grown in states where allowed.

The cut off date for Pennsylvania growers to apply for a 2017 PDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program was January 6. Applicants who are approved for research projects will be notified by February 17.

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Parents and guardians of kids that suffer from epilepsy as well as other debilitating medical diseases are going to be able to get a “safe harbor” letter during the month of July. What this does is allows for parents and such to get medical cannabis outside of Pennsylvania. Temporary regulations for child patients are going to be the first to be given out by the state Department of Health since Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize the use of marijuana to treat debilitating medical conditions. The law is going to take almost two years to finally be completely approved.

“In July, parents, legal guardians, caregivers, and spouses will be able to apply to the department for a Safe Harbor Letter that will allow them to administer medical marijuana obtained from outside of Pennsylvania to minors in their care,” Health Secretary Karen Murphy, wrote. “Once approved, the letter should be carried whenever medical marijuana is being transported outside of an individual’s home.”

Physicians are going to need to have a background check done on them. A picture ID is going to be needed as well as a physician form is given by a doctor licensed by the state in order to be approved for purchases outside of the state. The state Department of Health has said, though, that cannabis is still listed as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. This means that the letter might not be able to be used against prosecution for anyone trying to cross state lines with cannabis, even if they are trying to get it back to Pennsylvania for its intended purpose. Now that this has been taken care of, the next rules are going to be set for cultivators and processors; dispensaries and laboratories; doctors; and then patients and caregivers.

“We are actively working to implement a high quality, efficient, and compliant medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania,” Murphy stated.

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Recently, Pennsylvania became the twenty-fourth state to legalize medical marijuana. The Philly Voice reports that the new medical cannabis legislation will officially go into effect a month after Governor Tom Wolf signed it on April 17th. However, the “timeline to develop an operative system—growers, processors, dispensaries, and providers—is expected to take between 18-24 months.” Earlier this week, Wolf reported to a radio station that those who are allowed to use medical marijuana should be able to have their medicine even sooner than that, stating that medical marijuana could be “imported to Pennsylvania as an interim step.”

“People should be able to start using these medicines really quickly,” Wolf stated. “If someone were to go to another state and buy it legally and bring it back for medicinal purposes, I kind of doubt that most prosecutors would pursue a case even right now… We are trying to give relief to families, and I think it would be much appreciated by the families, and it would be consistent with the will of the General Assembly and the people they represent. This is relief we’d like to be able to start getting as soon as possible.”

While on the radio, Wolf highlighted that this does not mean that legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes is going to be considered anytime soon.

“The two aren’t linked at all,” Wolf emphasized. “This is not a gateway to anything other than reinforcing what we’ve always done, and that is [to] allow doctors, encourage doctors, to do what they can do to make the lives of their patients more comfortable.”

Under this new program, patients who have one or more of the seventeen conditions listed, including cancer, Crohn’s disease and severe chronic or intractable pain, will be able to get their hands on medical marijuana in pill, oil or ointment form.

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It seems that medical cannabis articles posted on April nineteenth claiming Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana has some debatable information. Some decided to reference California as an example of a state that was there from the beginning of the medical marijuana revolution. However, the problems it led to was huge for the state, but not mentioned. Many know that there are people obtaining medical cards in the state that do not qualify for it.

There is also the news about the “marijuana church” in California led by an unofficial minister. Every member of this church has a medical card, which makes cannabis legal for them. Furthermore, they also use the smokable and vapor type. These people must also be aware of the fact that as marijuana use increases, there is also a connection with the growth of schizophrenia, according to scientific studies. This can lead to both a disability for the rest of one’s life as well as horrible psychological symptoms. The agony of this disease is just as real as any physical pain and should not be wished upon anyone.

It can be very concerning that marijuana should be offered to treat young children. We must ask ourselves: have the long-term effects of using cannabis been scientifically studied, especially in a brain that is still growing? Furthermore, has there been any research on the drug? Any other drug, sure. This is a drug, so it would need to go through intense research to be reviewed by the FDA. But then again, the FDA has no part in medical marijuana.

One can’t help but feel bad for all of the individuals and families who might be helped by the use of cannabis. However, the risks that may come along should also be considered. The passage of Pennsylvania’s bill was for seizures, but has the benefit of using cannabis treatment for such conditions been examined?

 

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The path to medical marijuana to Pennsylvania has been very difficult for all of the patients that have been fighting to convince the state to legalize the treatment option. However, Governor Tom Wolf decided to take the necessary steps over the weekend to stop prohibition, once and for all, by signing a medical marijuana program into law. As a result, Pennsylvania is the twenty-fourth state in the United States to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.

On Sunday, Wolf stood before a crowd of patients and proponents of medical marijuana at the State Capital. He called it a “great day for Pennsylvanians. 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.”

The people of Pennsylvania that suffer from seventeen specific conditions, including cancer, Crohn’s disease, and severe chronic or intractable pain will now have the ability to go into any of Pennsylvania’s fifty licensed dispensers and buy full strength marijuana products. Alas, it could take a few years until the program is fully working. But for parents of children suffering from seizure disorders, there is a loophole written into the bill that gives them the freedom to have and utilize cannabis oil before the product is actually legal and distributed.

Very similar to the program that was launched at the beginning of this year by New York, patients with a note from a doctor shall not be allowed to use cannabis. The new law states that only various marijuana products will be ready, “including pill, oil, tinctures, and liquid forms that can be used in vaporizers.” In a push to make sure that nobody in Pennsylvania is using marijuana and calling it medicinal, people are not allowed to grow weed at home.

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Pennsylvania definitely has a battling chance at legalizing a medicinal cannabis program in 2016. On Tuesday, following a couple of weeks rattling the nerves of cannabis promoters over the state, the Pennsylvania Senate voted 42 to 7 for a suggestion that would permit patients experiencing an assortment of weakening conditions to be able to use medical cannabis.

As anticipated, in any case, the Senate did not put its stamp of endorsement on the bill before making some slight changes to the House variant, which was pushed through by a majority vote back in March. The most recent correction to SB 3 should now go before the House of Representatives for a moment time to figure out if officials there concur with the revisions. In spite of the fact that the House majority leader as of late said that he couldn’t promise the bill would be talked about again in the House if the Senate changed too much, it seems the changes were sufficiently minor to practically guarantee the bill’s section inside of the following few days.

There is a theory that individuals from the House could take a vote on the upgraded measure as soon as Wednesday, putting the bill in a position to be sent to the workplace of Governor Tom Wolf for his Hancock at some point a week from now. Sadly, the likelihood additionally exists that the proposition could be held off until the following administrative session starts in May.

“Pennsylvania patients and their families have had to work far too hard and for far too long to gain legal access to medical marijuana,” legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project Becky Dansky wrote in an email. “They should not have to wait any longer. We urge the House to concur tomorrow, so we can begin the process of implementing this important program.”

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While surveying by and large demonstrates that Democratic voters are more probable than Republicans to want to legalize pot, a developing number of Republican elected authorities and applicants that are standing up for changing cannabis laws. On Monday night, John DiSanto, a contender for Pennsylvania State Senate, included his voice in the backing of legalization.
“We’re spending so much money fighting a war that’s never going to be won,” DiSanto stated during a debate for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania’s 15th Senate District, PennLive.com reports. “There’s no difference if somebody wants to smoke a little bit of marijuana or drink some wine on their back porch. It’s just a non-argument.”
Incumbent Sen. Rob Teplitz, a Democrat, does not support legalization. Despite the fact that the congressperson is the main co-sponsor of the medicinal cannabis bill that is working its way through the state lawmaking body, he “does not support broader legalization or broader decriminalization of marijuana,” according to spokesperson Elizabeth Rementer during an interview. DiSanto’s antagonist for the GOP nomination, Andrew Lewis, also is against legalizing cannabis but is more inclined to think about decriminalization.
“I don’t believe it’s a good idea. It destigmatizes drug use. And I think there is some evidence that shows that it is a gateway drug, and I think it would be foolish to totally legalize recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania,” Lewis said to PennLive in an interview after the debate. “Now we can talk decriminalization… I don’t want necessarily people going to jail over these issues… I think it’s a discussion I’m open to having.”
DiSanto, during his interview, stated that he feels that “ultimately marijuana should be legalized for recreational use in small amounts… The amount of money that’s spent policing this and jailing people for something that’s not a gateway drug really is not the best use of taxpayer dollars.”

 

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Pittsburgh may be the next city in Pennsylvania to decriminalize marijuana. Daniel Lavelle, a city councilman, put forward a piece of legislation with the goal of surrogating the criminal penalties currently attached to the possession of marijuana with a fine. The legislation would make the possession of under thirty grams of marijuana a civil infraction with a penalty of just $100 rather than being sent to jail. Authorities would still have the authority to confiscate marijuana, though.

“This bill helps to decrease the many lives destroyed by the unnecessarily harsh consequences that come with the most minor marijuana offenses,” Lavelle stated. “The bill will help break the damning life-long consequences of unemployment, lack of education and being caught in a revolving criminal justice system.”

Another measure along the same lines was put forward in Philadelphia las year, with Mayor Michael Nutter along with the city council wishing to get rid of criminal penalties for minor pot possession by issuing citations of just $25. A month later, reports showed that arrests for pot possession dropped throughout the city by 78%.

“We might safely say Philly saved $627,000 in 60 days under the new decriminalization policy,” philly.com wrote, “That puts the city on track to save $3.75 million over the course of a year.”

The ordinance was very close to passing, but there were quarrels between the administration and the city police department prior to the law becoming official. Months before the mayor signed the bill, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey stated that “his officers were going to ignore the decriminalization.” During that summer, officers stood true to their word and went o to arrest hundreds of people for small possessions of marijuana. Luckily, though, since that time, arrests for small amounts of marijuana have dropped by half since the ordinance was given final approval.

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