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Politics & Government

Medical Marijuana Law Changes Pass Pennsylvania House Panel

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Pennsylvania
Keith Srakocic
/
AP
Photographs of marijuana plants are on the wall during an open house and media availability for the opening of CY+ Medical marijuana Dispensary, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 in Butler, Pa.

A proposal to permanently adopt pandemic-prompted changes to Pennsylvania's medical marijuana law passed a state House committee on Monday, but most Democrats on the panel voted against allowing grower-producers to use pesticides.

The Health Committee voted nearly unanimously to advance to the House floor the proposed revisions, which would make permanent the current practices of dispensing the drug through curbside pickups and permitting three-month supplies, rather than 30 days, to be dispensed at one time.

Those changes have been permitted by the Health Department under the governor's declaration of disaster emergency. Voters last week amended the state constitution so that such declarations can no longer continue for more than three weeks without legislative consent.

In a vote of 16-9, majority Republicans added a provision that would loosen the rules under which contaminants in medical marijuana require the product to be destroyed. The bill would allow suppliers to remediate contamination and dispense the product if an independent lab concludes the remediation effort was successful.

A legislative aide told lawmakers that change should help increase the supply of medical marijuana.

The GOP-backed amendment also would allow hemp-derived ingredients to be added to medical marijuana.

If the bill becomes law, the Agriculture Department would set up a process to determine which pesticides would be allowed.