Old enough to marry? Or buy cigarettes? Age matters in bills before Pa. lawmakers

Jan Murphy | Monday, June 17, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

What’s in a number? Plenty if you want to live by Pennsylvania’s rules.

Lawmakers are weighing different bills that would require Pennsylvanians to wait until age 18 – or 21 – before making some major life decisions.

Earlier this month, the state House unanimously passed a bill that set the minimum age to marry, without a parent, guardian or judge’s consent at 18. It’s the same age Pennsylvania has set when you can make your own decisions about medical or dental treatment; getting a driver’s license; having an abortion; buying a lottery ticket; getting a tattoo or body piercing; buying fireworks, and buying medical marijuana or firearms.

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Recreational marijuana laws put on hold by NJ and NY. What’s that mean for Pennsylvania?

Jan Murphy | Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

Pennsylvania’s neighbors to the north and east were seemingly hot on the trail of legalizing marijuana and it didn’t go unnoticed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

The strong interest in legalizing recreational cannabis coming out of New York and New Jersey was cited as a reason why Wolf sent Lt. Gov. John Fetterman on a statewide listening tour to hear what Pennsylvanians thought of the idea.

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Recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania: What should legalization look like?

Wallace McKelvey | Monday, April 29, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

Pennsylvania is getting ever closer to legal recreational marijuana but policymakers still face tough questions about what this potentially multi-billion-dollar industry would look like.

In December, Gov. Tom Wolf signaled he’s open to it after years of ambivalence and caution. Newly elected Lt. Gov. John Fetterman subsequently embarked on a 67-county listening tour to collect public input.

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Majority in Pa. say marijuana should be legal: F&M Poll

Ron Southwick | Thursday, March 28, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

A majority of Pennsylvanians say it should be legal to buy marijuana for recreational purposes, according to the new Franklin & Marshall College poll.

The poll, which was released this morning, found 59 percent of voters said pot should be legal in Pennsylvania. The findings underscore a remarkable shift in public opinion on marijuana in a little more than a decade. In 2006, only 22 percent of registered voters supported legalizing marijuana, said G. Terry Madonna, the F&M poll’s director.

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Legalize it? Marijuana talk has been going on for decades. It’s what they’re saying and who’s listening that’s changed

Charles Thompson | Monday, February 11, 2019, Harrisburg Patriot News

Pennsylvania has come a long way in the last 15 years.

With bipartisan support, policy-makers have legalized casino gambling; pushed beer and wine into grocery stores; allowed the sales of certain forms of marijuana for medicinal use, and given the green light for sports betting.

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10 reasons why marijuana could be legal in Pennsylvania (eventually)

Ron Southwick | Thursday, December 27, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

When Gov. Tom Wolf said last week it’s time to explore the possibility of legalizing pot in Pennsylvania, he brought a fresh wave of attention to the controversial issue.

After addressing the topic in a question-and-answer session on Twitter, Wolf said he wasn’t immediately throwing support behind any legislation. But citing other states that have allowed the sale of marijuana, Wolf said it’s worth examining their experiences and assessing whether or not Pennsylvania should follow suit.

To be clear, recreational marijuana isn’t coming any time soon.

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Reducing penalties on pot possession gains momentum in Pa. House

Jan Murphy | Thursday, October 11, 2018, Harrisburg Patriot News

As a growing number of Pennsylvania cities – including Harrisburg and most recently Lancaster – move to make possession of a small amount of marijuana a less serious crime, a legislative effort is in the works to write that into state law.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted 20-4 to make possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana in most cases a summary offense rather than a misdemeanor that carries a stiffer penalty.

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Public faith in marijuana outpaces medical research, study finds

Ian Haydon | Wednesday, July 25, 2018, Philadelphia Inquirer

Despite limited evidence, Americans have an increasingly positive view of the health benefits of marijuana. Nearly two-thirds believe pot can reduce pain, while close to half say it improves symptoms of anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a new online survey of 9,003 adults.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 30 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, that have legalized medical marijuana. But scientists say hard data on the health effects of pot — both positive and negative — are largely missing. Because marijuana is considered an illicit drug by the federal government, research has been scant, though there are efforts underway in Pennsylvania and nationally to remedy that.

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Pa. lawmaker asks to erase marijuana convictions for patients

Sam Wood | Tuesday, May 8, 2018, The Philadelphia Inquirer

A Pennsylvania legislator introduced a bill Monday that would give medical marijuana patients a chance of expunging a conviction of marijuana possession if the charge resulted from their use of cannabis for medical purposes.

The bill is sponsored by State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), and does not have any support yet from Republicans who control the legislature. To be expunged, patients would have to prove they had a doctor’s diagnosis for one of the 21 approved serious health conditions at the time of the conviction. The patient would also have to provide evidence they were using cannabis to treat the condition.

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Marijuana war brewing between growers, teaching hospitals

Sam Wood | Thursday, April 19, 2018, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Calling it “disruptive” and “unlawful,” a group of Pennsylvania marijuana growers and retailers wants to snuff out the state’s pioneering research program before it is launched.

The first of its kind in the nation, the research program would allow eight of the state’s teaching hospitals to contract with a cannabis producer. Each contract is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. The agreements grant the producers a “super-permit” to operate an indoor grow facility and to open six retail dispensaries that can sell medical marijuana to any approved patient.

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Medical marijuana will go on sale in Pa. this week

David Wenner | Tuesday, February 13, 2018, The Patriot News

Pennsylvania’s first medical marijuana dispensary will begin sales on Thursday and sales will begin at five other locations by the end of the week, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Tuesday.

The first medical marijuana dispensary to begin sales, on Thursday, is located in Butler County north of Pittsburgh.

In the Harrisburg region, Organic Remedies Dispensary in Hampden Township in Cumberland County will begin sales Friday, Wolf announced. Dispensaries in Bethlehem, Pa. and Pittsburgh are also set to open Friday.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vows to protect medical marijuana from federal government

Ben Schmitt | Thursday, January 4, 2018, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

Gov. Tom Wolf vowed Thursday to protect Pennsylvanians from what he called “backwards attacks” by the federal government on the state’s new medical marijuana program.

Wolf’s stance came following U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcement that he is doing away with the Obama-era policy that had paved the way for legalized marijuana to flourish in states across the country.

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Can your doctor prescribe medical marijuana?

Wallace McKelvey | Thursday, November 2, 2017, The Patriot News

Pennsylvania has approved about 100 physicians statewide to participate in the new medical marijuana program, with another 200 in the pipeline.

In order to be approved, physicians must complete four hours of training on medical cannabis and how it’s administered. Once the program is up and running next year, they can recommend patients to use the medicine, which will be grown and dispensed from permitted facilities.

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