[JURIST] The Pennsylvania House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday approved a bill [text, PDF ] to legalize the use and distribution of medical marijuana. The bill, passed [roll call] by a vote of 149-43, authorizes the use of medical marijuana for patients suffering from serious medical conditions and establishes guidelines and duties for the facilitation of the program. It is expected that the Senate [official website] will approve the measure, having already given approval to a previous version [JURIST report] and that Governor Tom Wolf [official profile] will sign it into law, making Pennsylvania the twenty-third state to approve the use of medical marijuana.
In recent years there has been a movement to decriminalize marijuana both domestically and abroad, which has resulted in at least 22 US states allowing various forms of medical marijuana and four states decriminalizing [CNN report] marijuana altogether. In December Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree fully legalizing medical marijuana [JURIST report] in the country. Santos said the new regulations, which make it legal to grow, process, import and export marijuana for medical and scientific use, would put Colombia "at the forefront in the fight against disease." Last November New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed two bills [JURIST report] in order to expedite the distribution of medical marijuana to citizens with critical health conditions. Earlier that month New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed [JURIST report] a bill into law that would allow for the administering of edible medical marijuana to sick and disabled children on school grounds without triggering the arrests of parents or educators. In June of last year the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a law restricting the use of medical marijuana was unconstitutional [JURIST report].