By Omar Sacirbey
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have passed a bill to allow the cultivation, sale and use of medical marijuana, making it the 24th state in the nation to legalize MMJ.
The measure cleared the state House this afternoon by a 149-46 vote after previously winning approval from the Senate. The bill now heads to the governor, who said he will approve it.
“I am proud and excited to sign this bill that will provide long overdue medical relief to patients and families who could benefit from this treatment,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement issued shortly after the House vote.
With nearly 13 million people, Pennsylvania is the sixth-biggest state in the country, and many observers expect it will become a sizable medical marijuana market.
Under the bill, the state will award up to 25 grower licenses and 50 dispensary permits. Each company that wins a dispensary license will be able to open as many as three different locations, for a total of 150 storefronts in the state.
Up to five of the 25 grower licenses will also be allowed to open dispensaries, while the number of grower and dispensary licenses could expand in the future.
“Time will show what improvements we need to make in the bill, but this is a big step in the right direction,” said Rep. Mark Cohen, who supported the measure.
The bill started in the state Senate 11 months ago and has bounced around both legislative chambers over the past few weeks.