Pa.’s medical marijuana update bill aims to lower prices, increase job opportunities

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A bill that would update Pennsylvania’s five-year-old medical marijuana act is making its way through the legislative process. The state House of Representatives passed it this week.

House Bill 1024 is all about creating more jobs and lowering prices for the half a million Pennsylvanians who are part of the medical marijuana program.

“This package of amendments increases access to medicine for patients,” Meredith Buettner said, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition.

abc27News explored the issues with access patients face because of cost in our medical marijuana series a few months ago. This bill would make medical marijuana less expensive by allowing more on the market and getting rid of some of the costly testing regulations.

“A lot of technology has changed in the last five years,” said Buettner. “A lot of techniques have changed.”

The legislation makes the temporary measures put in place because of the pandemic permanent.

These include allowing customers to get a three-month supply instead of one and letting growers and processors use motion detector security systems.

The bill would create more economic opportunities for farmers too since it calls for hemp products to be incorporated into the medical marijuana supply chain.

“There are new strains that work better for conditions,” said Buettner. “This will allow us access to that.”

Since getting started, the Keystone State’s medical program has created more than 9,000 jobs.

Advocates say letting more people work in the industry is key.

“The kid that got in trouble in college for marijuana in their dorm room that currently doesn’t have access to employment in the marijuana industry…this piece would correct that as well,” said Buettner.

While there is a whole list of legislators against recreational marijuana, that is not the case for medical marijuana. The House passed the legislation with a 164-38 vote, with Democrats and Republicans on both sides of that.

“These modernizations will allow us to deliver the best quality of medicines the most efficiently,” said Buettner.

The bill is now under consideration by the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

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