Senator Larry Farnese

Harrisburg – September 25, 2019 – State Sen. Larry Farnese’s (D-Philadelphia) effort to help young medical marijuana patients receive treatment — inserted into legislation increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products — was approved today by the Senate.

“My efforts are aimed at helping younger medical marijuana patients who would be caught in a bind if the bill were to pass without my amendment,” Farnese said. 

The lawmaker said his amendment specifically exempts vaping products used to administer medical marijuana from the legal definition of “tobacco product.”

If his amendment were not included in the measure, Farnese said medical marijuana patients between the ages of 18 to 20-years-old could not legally use vaping products to ingest their medication. He said it would force young people to either take their prescribed medication in a different way; or illegally rely on their caretaker to obtain the vaping device for them – exposing the caretaker to prosecution.

“My goal was to eliminate the loophole adversely impacting young patients that would result if this legislation were enacted without my amendment,” Farnese said. 

Farnese inserted his proposal into Senate Bill 473, which would increase the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 to reduce deaths and curtail adverse health effects.

According to the American Lung Association, there are 244,000 people under 18 who will die prematurely from smoking.  Eighteen states have raised the age for purchasing tobacco to 21-years of age. The legislation would also enable Pennsylvania to enforce illegal sales of e-cigarettes to those under 21-years of age, Farnese said.

The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.