Medical Experts See Dangers in Pennsylvania Home-Grow Marijuana Bill (2023)

Pennsylvania’s home-grow marijuana bill is the “most unscientific and irresponsible piece of legislation we have ever seen,” according to medical experts.

The bill allows any medical patient with 30 days of residency in Pennsylvania to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use.

This rule will create a new series of dangers for Pennsylvania citizens, according to Dr Tony Ruffa, pharmacist Louis Aliota, and pharmacist Gina Ruffa.

Tony Ruffa said he favors the decriminalization of marijuana and the use of medical marijuana. But residential marijuana growth and increased marijuana availability will bring trouble the government can’t control.

Medical marijuana is used as a painkiller, anti-nausea drug, and muscle spasm suppressant. Photo is of the drug being weighed at a medical dispensary in Vancouver, Canada, on Feb. 5, 2015. (The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)

He said he hopes that the chain of states that legalize marijuana will end with Pennsylvania.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” Ruffa said. “People are realizing that the pot today is really bad. So hopefully it’s in Pennsylvania where we can stand up and say ‘no’.”

Home growth of marijuana endangers house occupants and is extremely difficult to regulate, Ruffa said.

Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 1024, introduced by state Sen. Sharif Street (D-3rd District), is barely three pages long.

Sowing Seeds

It allows Pennsylvania patients to buy cannabis seeds from a dispensary and grow six plants in their homes for personal use only.

Only the patient, the patient’s caregiver, or an authorized agent tending the property for a brief period can care for the plants.

The plants must be out of public view and in a locked space.

Growers must also get permission from the home owner if they don’t own the property. Anyone who breaks the law will face penalties, as well as the removal of their marijuana growing privileges.

(Video) Inside Medical Marijuana Grow Facility

State Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-49th District), one of the bill’s sponsors, argued that it’s hard for sick people in rural Pennsylvania to drive to the nearest marijuana dispensary.

“If you’re a cancer patient and you are not feeling well, cannabis helps you with nausea and stuff like that,” Laughlin told the Erie Times-News.

“For folks that have to get in a car and drive an hour or so away to get what they need to make themselves feel better when they could have a couple of plants rightin their house, it does seem a little bit cruel to not allow them to do that.”

This simple bill fails to cover the complexities and dangers of growing marijuana, said Tony Ruffa.

“With the cannabis located in the house, it can cause an unhealthy atmosphere for some of those in the house,” he said.

Marijuana reduces blood flow in the parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Brain scans of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease (Atthapon Raksthaput/Shutterstock)

As plants go, marijuana is impressively complex, Tony Ruffa said. To make a usable product, growers need both male and female plants.

Indoor marijuana plants tend to range between 7 to 15 inches in height.

The plants must grow in a high-humidity environment. This effect can cause mold that can cause lung issues like bronchitis, he said.

Indoor plants also require enough electricity to cause fire hazards, he added.

Finally, marijuana plants themselves can be a hazard. The plants are poisonous to cats and dogs. Children can also easily take a dangerous dose of marijuana that can slow their breathing and potentially kill them, according to the National Capital Poison Center.

It’s more likely for marijuana accidents to happen at home than in a highly-regulated dispensary, said Ruffa.

“There are more kids visiting the emergency room in states that have marijuana, and they’re visiting the emergency rooms because of marijuana poisoning,” he said.

(Video) Exclusive: Inside NJ Warehouse Filled With Thousands Of Pot Plants

Dangerous For Intended Use

Beyond all these potential risks, marijuana itself can often have negative impacts on users.

Today’s marijuana is 20 to 50 times stronger than the marijuana of previous generations, said Louis Aliota. Aliota is a pharmacist with 40 years of experience.

This increased potency can affect the brain in surprising ways, Tony Ruffa said.

Studies have linked marijuana to schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorders. Medical studies are inconclusive on whether medical marijuana is actually helpful.

These issues have an especially destructive impact on young people, Tony Ruffa said. Drugs hit developing brains harder, with more long-term effects.

“Pot today is making kids psychotic and making them schizophrenic. It’s getting them addicted to go on to other drugs,” he said.

“Kids are committing suicide because they’re becoming more paranoid. And there’s more motor vehicle accidents.”

The marijuana industry is extremely lucrative and sometimes attracts the attention of organized crime. International criminal organizations are illegally growing marijuana on an industrial scale in southern Oregon. (Courtesy of Josephine County Sheriff’s Office)

Finally, it’s highly unusual for patients to get painkillers without a prescription, Aliota said. Any drug strong enough to cure pain is usually strong enough to cause harm. Putting a patient in charge of manufacturing their own drug supply creates potential for trouble, he said.

“If you take a drug, you have to be monitored,” he said. “If you don’t, as you grow older, it’s going to have an adverse effect.”

There’s no way for the government to monitor patients with six plants in their homes, Aliota said.

Moreover, marijuana can tend to function as a “gateway drug.” According to studies, use of a lighter drug often leads to use of harder drugs.

People who use marijuana, drink alcohol, or drink lots of caffeine tend to be more susceptible to taking harder drugs.

(Video) What Is It Like to Grow Cannabis at Home? | NBC Connecticut

Opportunities for Misuse

Even if no accidents happen, Bill 1024 opens many avenues for drug misuse too, Tony Ruffa said.

For a start, home-grown marijuana is vulnerable to theft and use by the wrong people, he said.

The presence of marijuana supplies in homes will make it easier for young people to use the drug without parental knowledge, Ruffa said.

“Who hasn’t stolen their dad’s cigarettes, or the bottle of wine or beer that was in the cupboard?” he asked. “How are you to prevent these kids from taking pot that’s being grown from the house?”

Lawbreaking or abuse of the law adds another layer of complexity to the problem, he added.

Pennsylvania currently has about 367,000 patients registered for medical marijuana use. To register, a patient must get a physician’s certification that they suffer from a medical condition that qualifies for medical marijuana, then pay for an ID card.

Some of the conditions, like a terminal illness or a cancer diagnosis, are difficult to fake. But others, like anxiety disorders, can be easy to lie about.

Lies can also prove profitable, Tony Ruffa said. A house with five occupants who are “patients” could hypothetically grow 30 marijuana plants, he said. A mature plant can be worth between $1,500 and $2,000.

“As a family doctor, a lot of people have told me, ‘Listen, I don’t go to the dispensary for medical marijuana because I can’t afford it. So I go on the street, and it’s much cheaper,’” Ruffa said.

“So now, here is a conduit for people to be able to grow pot and to sell it on the street and make money.”

Finally, any rules on home growth of marijuana will likely be extremely difficult to enforce, Ruffa said. It would be easy for a medical marijuana user to grow extra plants and sell the remainder.

Authorities would have to search homes to enforce compliance with the law, Ruffa said. But he doubts if doing so would be possible.

(Video) Minnesota mom charged for giving son medical marijuana

“Are they going to do house inspections where the marijuana DEA people in the state come in and see if you lock up your pot? No,” he said.

Jackson Elliott



Jackson Elliott reports on small-town America for The Epoch Times. He learned to write and seek truth at Northwestern University. He believes that the most important actions are small and that as Dostoevsky says, everyone is responsible for everyone and for everything. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys running, reading, and spending time with friends. Contact Jackson by emailing


Can you have a medical card and be a nurse in PA? ›

Medical Card Rules for Doctors and Nurses

Registered nurses living in states with legalized medical marijuana can have their cards. Still, using cannabis to treat a medical condition cannot interfere with their work.

How much can you buy at a dispensary in PA? ›

This means police won't arrest you for possessing, buying or consuming small amounts of marijuana (up to 30 grams of marijuana or 8 grams of hashish/oil). You still can't sell marijuana and you can't possess more than 30 grams in those counties — then you can be arrested.

Can you fly with medical Marijuanas in Florida? ›

So having a Florida medical Marijuana card will do nothing when going through TSA or crossing state lines in an airplane. That applies even if you are going to just Miami to Orlando or Fort Lauderdale to Sarasota.

How can you protect your outdoors from theft? ›

Protect your plants with cameras, lights and alarms

Many thieves like to act under cover of darkness, so motion-sensitive lights are a must for keeping your grow safe and sound. If you are out of the house a lot for work, then security cameras are also worth considering.

Can you fail a drug test in PA with a medical card? ›

Accordingly, a positive drug test does not necessarily mean that the individual was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the test. Further, regular use of medical marijuana, for example, by someone who is using medicinally will likely cause a positive drug test every time the individual is tested.

Can you smoke medical Marijuanas in PA? ›

It is legal to possess and consume medical marijuana in Pennsylvania as long as you have a valid MMJ card. However, it is still illegal to have any part of the plant or its products for recreational or non-medical purposes. Ultimately, you can be charged with illegal possession if you do not have a PA MMJ card.

Can you own a gun with a medical card in PA? ›

If you own a Pennsylvania card for medical marijuana, you cannot buy a gun. That's what the majority of individuals claim, and that's how the law reads. In fact, when you apply for your license, you will be asked if you use medical marijuana. If you answer yes, you will be denied the license.

Can you smoke in public with a medical card in PA? ›

Medical Marijuana Don'ts In Pennsylvania:

DON'T forget to keep your medical marijuana certification in a safe place. DON'T expect to buy edibles, as they are illegal in Pennsylvania. DON'T smoke medical marijuana flower in Pennsylvania because only vaping this product is legal.

Can you smoke dry leaf in PA? ›

Pennsylvania medical marijuana users have a new way to buy the drug. Dispensaries in Lancaster and Enola, Cumberland County, have begun selling dry leaf marijuana. - Download the WGAL appHowever, it is illegal to actually smoke the drug in the dry leaf form. Instead, users have to vaporize it.

Can XRAY detect edibles? ›

Can Airport Scanners Detect Edibles? Airport scanners can detect food items, though they cannot detect whether those food items are edibles. It depends on whether the airport security personnel find your food items suspicious. The packaging the edibles are in and any odor could be a giveaway.

Can I use my Florida medical card in Pennsylvania? ›

Pennsylvania does not recognize medical marijuana registry cards issued in other states. As long as patients bring their physical medical marijuana card with a government-issued ID card from the same state, visiting patients can have access to dispensaries in Rhode Island.

Can you take CBD gummies through TSA? ›

As TSA says on its website: “Marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA.”

Can you get a medical card for anxiety in PA? ›

Qualifying Medical Conditions

Only patients suffering from one of the following medical conditions can participate in Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Anxiety disorders. Autism.

Can healthcare workers use CBD? ›

Nurses and doctors can use hemp-based CBD oil in all 50 states, so long as the oil is THC-free.

Does the Commonwealth of PA drug test? ›

Drug & Alcohol Testing

The commonwealth may conduct pre-employment drug/alcohol testing of applicants for positions. Any other type of drug/alcohol testing for any employee requires a legal determination, union negotiation, and a demonstrated need.

Can a nurse have a medical card in Ohio? ›

People have considered the benefits and dangers of medical professionals using medical marijuana, weighing both against a variety of other viewpoints. Currently, there is no law stating that healthcare workers cannot have a medical marijuana card in Ohio.

Can you get a medical card with a felony in Pennsylvania? ›

It is possible to obtain a medical marijuana card with a felony conviction. If you want this ID card you can apply through a licensed physician, but you will be subject to a background check. This background check will focus on the criminal section of your record.


1. Growing marijuana 101: How your pot is being produced ahead of legalization
(Global News)
2. Opposing Legalizing Medical Marijuana in PA
3. Hemp or marijuana? How a new Texas law changed everything.
(The Texas Tribune)
4. Expert: Probably not discrimination for landlords to ban medical marijuana
5. Options To Consume Cannabis Grow As More States Legalize Marijuana
(NBC News)
6. Medical Marijuana and Long Term Care in Pennsylvania
(PHCA Cares)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Last Updated: 01/14/2023

Views: 5606

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-12-23

Address: 4653 O'Kon Hill, Lake Juanstad, AR 65469

Phone: +494124489301

Job: Marketing Representative

Hobby: Reading, Ice skating, Foraging, BASE jumping, Hiking, Skateboarding, Kayaking

Introduction: My name is Cheryll Lueilwitz, I am a sparkling, clean, super, lucky, joyous, outstanding, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.