The debate on the legality of marijuana in Pennsylvania rages on. As local prosecutors such as the Chester County District Attorney’s office keep the pressure on individuals who use illegal controlled substances such as marijuana in our local communities, bipartisan support is growing in the Pennsylvania state capital for legalizing a form of medical marijuana. In the past month, two state senators, a Republican and a Democrat have introduced a bill to legalize marijuana, Senate Bill 1182, “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act.” The bill seeks to legalize a certain form of marijuana for medicinal use in Pennsylvania to help children who suffer seizures and/or the symptoms of chemotherapy.
However, this form of marijuana will not soon be the stuff that recreational brownies are made of. The proposed medicine is cannabidiol or CBD, a compound found in marijuana but lacking in TCH, marijuana’s psychoactive chemical. The medicine would be taken as oral drops or pills without providing a “high”. Despite the bipartisan support for the bill, Pennsylvania’s governor has promised to veto any medical marijuana legislation, even if it includes a form of marijuana that does not include a high.
Regardless of the success of this medical marijuana bill, the debate continues on the future of both the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana for personal use. Until that time, possession of even a small amount of marijuana is a criminal misdemeanor offense in Pennsylvania that will result in civil penalties such as loss of driving privileges and the possibility of detention. Until the time that Pennsylvania legislators decriminalize marijuana, the threat of criminal prosecution and persecution is ever present. Individuals facing the possibility or reality of criminal prosecution need advice from experienced lawyers that can provide the advice and counsel they need in a time of crisis.