Local News

‘Historic’ medical marijuana vote expected in coming weeks

Pennsylvania could soon see some traction on a plan to legalize Medical Marijuana. In the coming weeks State Senators say we could witness history as members of the Senate Law and Justice Committee could vote on The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. This would be the first time lawmakers have voted on this issue in any government body.

The Senate Law and Justice Committee held a hearing Tuesday to finalize details in the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act or Senate Bill 1182.

One of the sponsors of the bill, State Senator Mike Folmer (R) 48th District fought back tears during the hearing. “There’s a mother right here, I know where she spent her last New Years Eve, she spent it in the hospital because her daughter’s heart stopped beating, from her FDA approved medications,” Senator Folmer shouted. “It’s become a very emotional issue for me, I’m sorry, But we need to pass this now.”

Amendment & Regulation
Members of the Senate Committee held the hearing to get input from a range of people who have experience with medical cannabis. They are working on an amendment to the bill that would create a State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing, a regulation authority under the Department of Health.

Three licenses would be available: Medical Cannabis Grower, Medical Cannabis Processor, and Medical Cannabis Processor.

The goal of the three licenses would allow the board to strictly control the industry. The State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing would also certify independent testing laboratories and require that the medical cannabis be tested and properly labeled before sale or distribution.

The Department of Health would authorize “written certifications” given by medical professionals and submitted by patients through the application process. Patients will receive a medical cannabis Identification Card from the Department of Health to purchase their medication.

Testimony
The bill deals with using the entire plant. Jason Cranford, a Licensed Cultivator and Dispensary Owner in Colorado, testified about why legislation should include the whole plant. “If you only legalize a small amount of the plant, you’re only going to be targeting a small number of medical conditions. If you want to treat several medical conditions, the whole plant is needed,” said Cranford.

David Bender, with addiction agency Compass Mark testified about his support for the plan. “Because others may abuse it, is not a reason to ban its medical use,” said Bender. But he urged lawmakers to look at all of the facts, use caution, and create programs to help with those who abuse it. “Let’s get serious about how we deal with the societal side effects of all mind altering medicines.”

Opposition
The Pennsylvania Medical Society does not support legalization of medical marijuana through legislation. “Our organization is in full support of medical research and believes this is a better route than legislating medical treatment. It’s important to have science behind the practice of medicine. Research is needed to carefully evaluate potential new medications. Building a body of proven evidence through the scientific process is a must to ensure best medical practices are followed and all is known about potential risks. Through careful scientific research, and later FDA approval, new medications can be best discovered, brought to market, and used. Pennsylvania physicians look forward to the pilot results to help improve the care provided to patients who may not have other option,” statement from Bruce A. MacLeod, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

What’s next?
If the bill makes it out of the Senate Law and Justice Committee it would still need approval in the Senate and House before making it to the governor’s desk.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

8 Comments to “‘Historic’ medical marijuana vote expected in coming weeks”

    Brian Kelly said:
    June 10, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let's have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    "[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    "[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications." — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    "[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate." — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    "Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision." — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

    "The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses' Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine." — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    "[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use." — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," 1995

    "When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug." — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

    Brian Kelly said:
    June 10, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    Fear of Medical Marijuana Legalization is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever.

    So please, all prohibitionists, we beg you, give your scare tactics, "Conspiracy Theories" and "Doomsday Scenarios" over the inevitable Legalization of Medical Marijuana a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

    Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny, crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of Medical Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it is obviously defective.

    The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol and definitely so much less dangerous than handfuls of deadly, toxic, made-,made, highly addictive, narcotic pain pills and other pharmaceuticals .

    If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about "saving us all" from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

    Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

    Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and or practice a little live and let live. They'll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being hell bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

    caliboss said:
    June 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    ENLIGHTENMENT…i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old…i hated gays, immigrants, women's rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh's #1 fan….until i smoked marijuana….changed the world

    1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy…#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed…

    "any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

    Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
    Deaths by Tobacco: Millions
    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
    Deaths by Guns: Millions
    Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
    Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever

    AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS! 33

    Meeeeeee said:
    June 13, 2014 at 4:19 AM

    That's not required as that's already illegal. If you take something like Zoloft and it makes you intoxicated it's already illegal to drive in that state. The legislation is all encoumpassing, not on a medicine by medicine case.

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