A step in the right direction


Pennsylvania recently joined 23 other U.S. states in the legalization of smokeless forms of medical marijuana. The House voted 149-46 in favor of Senate Bill 3 Wednesday, and Gov. Tom Wolf signed it into law Sunday.

House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, a 2000 IUP graduate, has maintained a progressive yet cautious attitude when it comes to policy. His opinion on medical marijuana is no different.

“We’ve got too many kids and too many citizens in general that could potentially benefit from the use of medical marijuana,” Reed said in January, according to a June 2015 Facebook post from the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society. “We just need to make sure it’s regulated in the most appropriate fashion possible and that we’re not creating a lot of unintended consequences.”

While the bill is a step in the right direction for those wishing to utilize marijuana for its curative benefits, don’t rush to schedule a doctor’s appointment for a prescription to treat your anxiety or headaches quite yet. Though the list of qualifying conditions is extensive, SB3 is one of the strictest medical bills yet. As Reed said, Pennsylvania leadership wants to avoid any unintended consequences.

Patients will likely have to wait approximately 18 months until regulations are in order, according to Lancaster Online, but parents can legally purchase medical marijuana in another state for their children while Pennsylvania sorts out the details.

Pennsylvanians suffering from a short list of serious illnesses qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions, a list that includes cancer, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS.

So, what does this mean for IUP students? Unless you or a loved one are suffering from a serious illness that fits the criteria, it doesn’t mean much – yet. But for the 51 percent of Pennsylvanians who support allowing adults to “legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” according to a Quinnipiac survey in March, it’s a step in the right direction.