Gainey lauds House passage of medical marijuana bill

HARRISBURG, March 16 – State Rep. Ed Gainey praised today’s House passage of legislation (S.B. 3) that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

“It’s about time that we help Pennsylvania families who have been asking for this bill for several years. While some people in Harrisburg sought to delay the legislation, family advocates continued to watch their loved ones suffer from debilitating illnesses, all the while encouraging passage of the bill,” said Gainey, D-Allegheny. “We need to listen to them and medical professionals who support medical marijuana and we need to give it a chance.

“The drug policies we have in place just don’t work. They haven’t worked for 30 years. If a doctor can prescribe opioids that are highly addictive and have led to many deaths, why can’t we make sure that medical marijuana can help families who are experiencing pain and suffering? There are no overdose deaths related to marijuana.”

Gainey served on a bipartisan House task force that studied the issue throughout the summer and fall and recommended changes to the bill.

Several amendments were added to the bill including one by Gainey to ensure diversity among medical marijuana businesses to include veteran, minority and women participants.

The Pittsburgh lawmaker said this week’s House action is a big step in the process of medical marijuana becoming law because it’s the first time the House passed the bill despite overwhelming bipartisan Senate support during the past two legislative sessions.

The issue also has the strong backing of Gov. Tom Wolf.

The amended bill returns to the state Senate for consideration of House amendments before it can move to Wolf’s desk.