Veterans among supporters of bill that would legalize medical marijuana

Hundreds of supporters of  medical marijuana gathered in the state capitol Monday morning for a rally. Many veterans were also there, including Joe Mirt. Mirt couldn’t afford college so he joined the military. A few years later he was deployed to Iraq. He said he did things he’d never do in peacetime. “Firing a machine gun at vehicles until they go off the side of the road. In my head I like to think that I never hit anybody” said Mirt.

He knows that may not be true and it haunts him. “I don’t let on a lot of times the issues that I’m having because as a soldier and as a man I’ve been brought up my whole life to take the pain. To deal with the pain” said Mirt. He said marijuana has been the only thing that’s put a stop to that pain and it’s why he supports State Senator Daylin Leach’s bill, which would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

Leach said “the public supports it.” He was citing a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. It said that roughly 80% of Pennsylvania voters support legalization. “You don’t get that kind of number for almost anything, but by that number people support medical marijuana” said Leach.

As for Mirt, he said it’s time lawmakers start listening to the voters. “Their time is our time. We pay for this building, we pay for their salaries, we pay for their breaks. They need to understand that their free rides are going to come to a close if they don’t start agreeing with the constituents” said Mirt.

Leach’s bill, known as Senate Bill 1182, could be voted on as soon as next week. He said it has enough support to pass in the Senate before going to the House. If it passes in the House then it would go to Governor Corbett’s desk for signature, however the Governor has said he would not sign it. Leach is hopeful that he will change his mind, especially in an election year. “He said he would veto any bill. I don’t think he will. At the end of the day does he really want to go into reelection saying I’m the person who wants to keep sick children from getting medicine that would save their lives. I don’t think that’s a politically sustainable position to take” said Leach.