Pa. lawmaker to unveil alternative medical marijuana bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania representative plans to introduce a second bill to legalize medical marijuana.

Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) said his proposal would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patient who suffer from a serious medical condition such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.

The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs would oversee up to five medical marijuana organizations permitted to grow, process, distribute and sell medical marijuana. Each organization could operate up to four dispensaries.

The department would issue identification cards to patients and caregivers to obtain medical marijuana.

Marsico said his bill would establish criminal penalties for the unlawful use of medical marijuana and the falsification of identification cards.

A similar measure, Senate Bill 3, was sent to the state House of Representatives last month by a vote of 40-7, but has since stalled in the Health Committee.

“I understand that this legislation won’t satisfy everyone,” Marsico said of his proposal. “However, I feel it provides a good middle ground and is truly compromise legislation. I believe it will allow us to safely implement the use of medical marijuana in this state.”

“The language has been carefully drafted to ensure smooth implementation and reach our goal of helping those who so desperately need it,” he added. “It is my hope that after this legislation is introduced, we will soon be able to pass it out of committee and onto the floor of the full House for a full where it would receive the bipartisan support it deserves.”

A Franklin and Marshall College poll released last week found 87 percent of Pennsylvania voters think people should be allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it.

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