May 20, 2022   |   By Sarah Williamson

PA Democrats prioritized corporate interests over medical patients

Cruelty and oppression towards medical patients of our Commonwealth while enriching corporations doesn't represent the values our Commonwealth was founded upon.

Medical patients and advocates in Pennsylvania are rightfully upset with leadership in Harrisburg. Lawmakers have revised Act 16 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.

On June 25, 2021, medical cannabis legislation, HB 1024, passed without any reform provisions for patients in a 47-3 Senate vote, a 165-36 vote in the House, and passed by Governor Tom Wolf (D). Patients watched and saw zero efforts to demand real reform from House Democrats or the Governor.

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.

Why are our lawmakers passing laws benefiting the corporations but not the patients? We asked several Democrat representatives and were told to ask Democrat leadership. Then we asked Democrat leader Joanna McClinton why she prioritized corporations over medical patients. We haven't received a response.

Medical patients rightfully deserve answers as to why our Democrat leaders prioritized the industry's corporate legislation over the needs of medical patients.