A pair of Pennsylvania senators has introduced legislation to allow medical cannabis patients to grow their own plants at home.
The Medical Marijuana Cultivation Bill, sponsored by Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), would allow the state’s registered medical cannabis patients to grow a limited number of plants at home for personal use in an attempt to address patients’ cost and accessibility concerns, according to a WKBN report.
“Pennsylvania’s MMJ Advisory Board and the state Health Department have mounting data illustrating significant disparities in accessibility,” Laughlin said in a public statement. “Cost has likewise been a big burden for patients for quite some time.”
Patients must travel more than two hours to reach a dispensary in some cases, according to a press release announcing the bill. In addition, serious medical conditions, medical expenses, the lack of insurance coverage for medical cannabis and a reduced ability to work also make it difficult for some patients to afford medical cannabis sold at the state’s dispensaries.
“It is critical that policy meet people where they are, and by allowing medical marijuana patients to grow cannabis plants at home, we can help ease the cost and accessibility burdens for this important medicine,” Laughlin said in a public statement. “This legislation would go a long way towards helping everyday Pennsylvanians meet their health needs and ensuring everyone is treated equitably and fairly under Act 16.”
Pennsylvania passed Act 16 to legalize medical cannabis in 2016. Last month, State Rep. Melissa Shusterman introduced legislation to expand the number of medical cannabis cultivators in the state.
On the adult-use front, Democratic State Reps. Jake Wheatley and Dan Frankel recently announced House Bill 2050, the “Cannabis Regulatory Control Act,” to legalize the possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis or 5 grams of concentrate to personal use for adults 21 years and older.