May 20, 2022   |   By Sarah Williamson

PA Democrats prioritized profits for out-of-state corporations over Pennsylvanians

Democrat leaders prioritized profits for out-of-state corporations while Pennsylvanians are criminalized for growing their own medicine.

Pennsylvania's medical patients, caregivers and advocates are disappointed with leadership in Harrisburg. Lawmakers have revised Act 16, PA's medical cannabis law, to fulfill the needs of industry operators, without including any needed reforms for patients. Patients have been demanding home cultivation rights and DUI reform for years.

Last June, medical cannabis legislation HB-1024 passed without any reform provisions for patients in a 165-36 vote in the House, a 47-3 Senate vote and passed by Governor Tom Wolf (D).

Patient advocates argued Democrats can't keep blaming the GOP majority so long as they keep passing GOP-sponsored bills written by the corporate cannabis industry.

House Minority Whip, Jordan Harris, and other self-described "pro-cannabis" lawmakers gave away leverage and succumbed to corporate interests with additional pesticides and mold remediation cleared for use, without any quid pro quo to secure the reforms that patients are demanding.

The state House Democratic leadership team includes: Rep. Joanna E. McClinton, Rep. Jordan Harris, Rep. Matt Bradford, Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, Rep. Tina Davis, Rep. Mike Schlossberg and Rep. Dan Miller. —PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE DEMOCRATS PHOTO

Then in April of 2022, Democrats in the state Senate joined Republicans passing SB 1167 without any reforms for patients in a 46/3 Senate vote. SB 1167 was legislation allowing for banking protections for the multi-state, publicly-traded corporations.

The majority of PA's cannabis licenses are held by publicly-traded corporations with out-of-state headquarters (MSOs or multi-state operators). These companies effectively have an oligopoly system designed by Pennsylvania's elected officials, and protected by taxpayer-funded law enforcement — no one can grow the plant or make a profit from the cash crop but the license holders.

Who can't grow the plant legally in Pennsylvania? Pennsylvanians. Communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, small business entrepreneurs, veterans, disabled folks, cancer patients battling for their lives, trauma survivors, people suffering from long Covid, chronic pain patients, those who've struggled with opiate dependency, people who can't afford the corporate cannabis prices, arthritis sufferers, those suffering from inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and every day working-class Pennsylvanians who are just trying to de-stress, relax and feel good. The list goes on and on.

Why are our lawmakers passing reforms benefiting out-of-state corporations while our Veterans and cancer patients are prohibited and criminalized? We asked Democrat Leader Joanna McClinton why she prioritized corporations over Pennsylvanians. We haven't received a response.

How can you help?
Call Rep. Joanna McClinton at 215-748-6712. You'll likely connect with her voicemail or a friendly volunteer assistant. Leave a message asking Joanna to prioritize Pennsylvanians' needs over the needs of out-of-state cannabis corporations. Prefer social media? Join advocates and comment on Joanna's twitter, facebook or instagram.

Sign the Petition: Pass Homegrow Rights and DUI Protections for PA Medical Marijuana Patients