Is Marijuana Legal in Pennsylvania?

Not yet, but a recent proposed Senate Bill seeks to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.  Pennsylvania could join the twenty other states which have legalized medical marijuana.  A full copy of the proposed law can be found here.

The bill would be known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act.  It would create an affirmative defense against criminal prosecution for the possession of medical marijuana if the individual possesses a valid medical cannabis identification card.  Law enforcement would be prohibited from arresting and prosecuting someone who is legally engaged in the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  The law would create a rebuttable presumption that the individual is engaged in the medical use of marijuana if that individual possesses an identification card.  However, this presumption could be rebutted with evidence that the marijuana was not being used to alleviate symptoms of a medical condition. Possession of an identification card alone would not provide probable cause for law enforcement to search a person or property.  Additionally, a person could not be prosecuted for constructive possession of marijuana for being within a close proximity of someone who is using medical marijuana.

This law would also create an administrative board which would oversee the enforcement of the act, as well as permit them to promulgate additional rules and regulations. Some of the board’s duties would include establishing and overseeing the medical marijuana industry, establishing the application process for marijuana farms and enforcing the act.  To enforce the act, law enforcement created under the act, would be authorized to arrest individuals who are engaged in the unlawful sale, importation, manufacturing, transportation, possession and/or growing of medical marijuana.  A citation would be issued for a violation of the act, and then an administrative law judge would have authority to preside over the citation and enforcement cases.

Although this bill has been proposed in a Senate committee, it still has a long way to go before it can become law, as more fully detailed in this news story .