PA still has room to grow with medicinal marijuana – University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News
It’s impossible to get a majority of people to support anything it seems — except marijuana.
Franklin & Marshall College recently found that 56 percent of registered Pennsylvania voters think the state should make recreational marijuana legal, mirroring a nationwide trend of increased support for the drug.
Pennsylvania seemed to be trying its best to keep up with the trend when it passed a state law legalizing the growth, distribution and consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The law grants the southwestern region of Pennsylvania five permits for dispensaries and two permits for growing/processing facilities.
Marijuana is approved for patients in Pennsylvania that qualify under a list of conditions — such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and cancer — and is consistently proven to be effective for the conditions listed and beyond.
Here in Allegheny County, two companies and an individual have submitted applications — two for medical marijuana dispensaries, and one for a growing/processing facility. But the two dispensary applications were submitted for locations in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside, neighborhoods known to be some of Pittsburgh’s most affluent.
For medical marijuana to be effective in Pennsylvania, the dispensary facilities must not be concentrated only in affluent areas.The state has a vested interest in its residents’ health, and should use its power to ensure that medical marijuana is available for all residents of Pennsylvania, not just those concentrated in its wealthiest areas.
The state has tried to make accommodations for this problem of access, however. Each medical marijuana patient can list up to two “caregivers” — individuals that are permitted to obtain medical marijuana on behalf of the patient.
But this doesn’t completely solve the access problem. Caregivers will still need to travel prohibitively far distances to fill their patient’s prescriptions, particularly if they live in rural areas or in the