Wolf eyes up ending state’s recreational marijuana prohibition
It’s no secret that the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania is enthusiastic about legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use. Both Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman have been vocal proponents for ending the prohibition on cannabis for their entirety in public office. Gov. Wolf recently signed a bill that would further protect patient safety standards and quality of PA’s medical marijuana program while allowing the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board to continue research and determine new medical conditions that could meet the state’s eligibility requirements.
Medical marijuana was approved in Pennsylvania in 2016. Five years after being signed into law, the Department of Health has had the opportunity to examine the program’s pros and cons and make recommendations to legislatures on improving the current policy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania lawmakers made temporary changes to the medical marijuana program to make it easier for patients and cannabis dispensaries to navigate the unusual period in our country’s history. Some of the changes made included allowing patients to stock up on three months worth of medical marijuana rather than the previously allowed 30-day limit. Dispensaries were also permitted to conduct curbside pickups.
Thanks to H.B. 1024, these two practices are no longer temporary and have been adopted into law by the state’s legislature. However, the Republican-controlled legislature in PA is not on board with full adult recreational legalization of marijuana, despite neighboring state New Jersey approving full legalization as a ballot initiative during the 2020 elections.
While this is not a concrete step towards ending the state’s prohibition on marijuana, Gov. Wolf is signaling to the legislature that he is willing and going to take every step in his power to make cannabis more accessible to more residents in the state. Today, he focuses on expanding who qualifies for the medical marijuana program, but his eyes are focused on the goal post and the mission is to end marijuana prohibition in the state for good.