Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced In State Senate
By Steve Elliott
A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate on Tuesday would legalize the medical use of marijuana in the state.
Governor Tom Corbett has refused to sign any such bill until the federal Food and Drug Administration approves cannabis for medical purposes, reports John Kopp at Bucks Local News, but the bills bipartisan sponsors, state Senators Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer are working hard for its passage.
Sen. Leach has kicked off a social media campaign showing children who could benefit from medicinal cannabis. Sen. Folmer plans to hold a public hearing to educate his fellow lawmakers on the benefits of medical marijuana.
Children who suffer from severe epilepsy stand to benefit, the senators argue. They pointed to accounts of medicinal cannabis reducing seizures among children.
"This is a drug we need to get to these kids," Leach said. "If it were a derivative of a yucca plant, it would be in every CVS in the country."
Leach said the liquid drops used for children wouldn't contain any THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. They would, rather, contain the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD).
This is the first time that Leach, who has long supported medical marijuana, has enjoyed bipartisan support. He and Folmer announced their intentions last November.
"This is a people issue," Folmer said. "This is a health issue. This is about making sure people have every weapon in their arsenal to do battle with their disease."
Folmer, who is currently recovering from Hodgkin's lymphoma, said the government shouldn't stand in the way of people's ability to fight diseases. He said it is hypocritical to allow doctors to prescribe drugs like Oxycodone, but not medical marijuana.
"I still think there is a mass of misinformation on what my bill is trying to do," Folmer said. "My bill isn't about rolling up a marijuana cigarette for a child to smoke."
The bill is unlikely to be brought to the Senate Floor for a vote, due to the chamber's Republican leadership.
"We don't have any plans to consider it in 2014," sniffed Erik Arneson, spokesman for GOP Senate Majority Leader Dominic F. Pileggi. The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee.