Mechanicsburg pastor supports parents effort to get daughter medical marijuana

A Mechanicsburg pastor is coming out in support of medical marijuana, all because of a young member of his Cumberland County congregation who could benefit from the drug. Anna Knecht suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which is a severe form of epilepsy that causes multiple seizures a day. Her parents said medical marijuana is the key to stopping those seizures.

Anna celebrated her 11th birthday on Wednesday at the New Covenant Fellowship Church in Mechanicsburg, but her parents aren’t able to give her the present of medical marijuana they said she needs. “It’s really about a god given plant that we can use for good” said Anna’s father Mark Knecht.

The Knecht’s want the chance to give Anna an oil derived from marijuana that wouldn’t get her high, but has a component that has been proven to reduce seizures. “Anna’s seizures come on with no warning. They can occur at anytime of the day or night especially when she’s sleeping. She’s had up to 400 in a day and her longest one has been a day and a half” said Anna’s mother Deb Knecht.

One place that Anna and her family find strength is at church. “Anna’s part of our family” said senior pastor Brett Hartman. Hartman said he wants to see medical marijuana legalized in Pennsylvania for Anna’s sake. “Anna’s condition isn’t getting better and so we’re kind of like lets make sure our representatives know this. Lets make sure that maybe we don’t have to go through all the bureaucracy” said Hartman.

Governor Corbett has said he will not sign any bill into law that legalizes medical marijuana and that may force Anna’s family to explore other options. “Obviously our hope is that it would continue in Pennsylvania, but for now it looks like we’re going to have to go to Colorado” said Anna’s dad.

The congregation signed birthday cards at Anna’s party that make her case for why she needs medical marijuana. Her parents plan to hand deliver those cards to every single state representative and senator in Pennsylvania.