Advocates support most of Pa. medical marijuana update bill, but have concerns about pesticides, remediation

Health

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A bill that would update Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program aims to increase economic opportunities and lower the treatment’s prices. However, some advocates are concerned about other parts of the legislation.

Many medical marijuana patients and caregivers are excited about House Bill 1024. They think there is a lot of good in it, especially the part about increasing access to the treatment, but there are also some things they’re worried about.

Among them: remediation, which is taking marijuana that hasn’t passed lab tests for quality, processing it and then making it available to patients.

Advocates say other parts of the country have allowed this with few restrictions and that has led to recalls and people getting sick.

Pesticides are another big concern, as Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board say clean medicine is the goal.

Board member Molly Robertson says several other members and the Pennsylvania Department of Health believe this bill is moving through the legislative process too quickly.

The state House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1024 last week, with support from both parties.

This week, it’s already gone through the Senate Law and Justice committee and is now onto Appropriations, before being taken to the floor to a vote.

“We have vulnerable patients with compromised immune systems and we’re not opposed to remediation, but the language as it is now really lets the door wide open for things getting in our medicine that we can ill afford to have,” said Roberson.

Robertson tells us growers and processers do benefit from the parts of the bill in question, because it means less restrictions for them.

She says members of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board have continued to express concerns for patients, and are now requesting a hearing with expert testimony to vet the remediation process and tighten language.

abc27 News reached out to the state Department of Health for an interview and statement but did not hear back.

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