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Pennsylvania Senate Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

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Senate Law and Justice Committee votes in favor of bill that would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to use marijuana to treat their medical conditions

The Senate Law and Justice Committee voted unanimously today to approve a bill that would make it legal for seriously ill patients to use marijuana to treat their conditions with recommendations from their doctors. This is the first time medical marijuana legislation has been considered in Pennsylvania. The bill is expected to go to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a vote next, before going to the full Senate.

SB 1182, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), would allow qualified patients to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of licensed, regulated dispensaries throughout the state. Smoking would not be permitted, but patients could consume marijuana in edible form or through vaporization of the plant or its extracts. Home cultivation would also not be allowed under the bill. Patients under the age of 18 would be required to have parental consent in order to take part in the program.

A companion bill, HB 2182, was introduced in the House with 46 co-sponsors, but has not yet received a hearing.

“Residents of the Keystone State deserve the same opportunities to relieve their suffering as their neighbors,” said Rachelle Yeung, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “When New York gets final approval for its medical marijuana program, Pennsylvania will be nearly surrounded by states that allow seriously ill patients to access this safe and effective medicine. It is time for the legislature to recognize the overwhelming public support for this compassionate, sensible bill and do the right thing.”

According to a March 2014 poll by Quinnipiac University, 85% of Pennsylvania voters support medical marijuana. There are currently 22 states and the District of Columbia that have effective medical marijuana laws. Earlier this month, the New York Legislature approved a bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign, making it the 23rd medical marijuana state.



  • HughStoner

    Good luck PA Free the plant no downside unless you are 1) Big Pharma 2) Big Tobacco 3) Big Alcohol 5) For profit prisons 6) DEA and NIDA 7) Scare tactic politicians 8) Haters that have no idea that marijuana culture is good, I've never felt saver than at a hempfest surrounded by thousands of users.
    Cigarettes and Alcohol brings misery and death, Pot brings heath and insight.

  • stel1776

    It is absurd that the Federal Government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance along with Heroin. It is classified in a more dangerous category than Cocaine, Morphine, Opium and Meth. The criteria for Schedule I classification are:

    1) "The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse."

    Cannabis has a lower rate of dependency than Tobacco, Antianxiety Meds, Alcohol [Anthony et al. 1994], and Caffeine [Catherine et al. 2011]. In addition, the symptoms of dependency that develop in this small percentage are mild.

    "Compared to most other drugs … dependence among marijuana users is relatively rare."
    "A distinctive marijuana and THC withdrawal syndrome has been identified, but it is mild and subtle compared with the profound physical syndrome of alcohol or heroin withdrawal."
    Joy et al. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Institute of Medicine. 1999.

    Dr. Jack E. Henningfield and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz created a chart in 1994 ranking the relative addictive potential of heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, and caffeine. Cannabis was ranked lower than caffeine for all but one category (intoxication). Cannabis was ranked lower than ALL of them for withdrawal, reinforcement, tolerance, and dependence.

    2) "The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States."

    Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years throughout the world.

    "Marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision." – DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young, September 6, 1988, after two years of hearings on cannabis rescheduling

    The U.S. government has a patent on the main ingredients in cannabis for medical use:

    "This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants"
    Patent 6630507 – Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Filing date: Apr 21, 1999.

    "Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking"
    Grant I et al. Medical marijuana: clearing away the smoke. Open Neurol J. 2012.

    "In the past decade, the endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a growing number of physiological functions, both in the central and peripheral nervous systems and in peripheral organs."
    Pacher et al. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006.

    "this is one of the fastest-growing fields in psychopharmacology"
    "the endocannabinoid system may lead to the development of novel therapeutic drugs with higher societal acceptability and lower side effects profiles."
    Pamplona FA, Takahashi RN. Psychopharmacology of the endocannabinoids: far beyond anandamide. J Psychopharmacol. 2012. Review.

    3) "There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision."

    With its unusually large therapeutic index, cannabis is one of the safest known substances.

    "Overall, by comparison with other drugs used mainly for 'recreational' purposes, cannabis could be rated to be a relatively safe drug."
    Iversen L. Long-term effects of exposure to cannabis. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2005. Review.

    "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man"
    – DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young

    Cannabis does not meet ANY of the three required criteria. Urge you legislators to remove cannabis from Schedule I. Let doctors decide which medicine is best for their patients, not politicians!

  • stel1776

    76% of doctors support using cannabis for medicinal purposes:

    "with 76% of all votes in favor of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes — even though marijuana use is illegal in most countries…In sum, the majority of clinicians would recommend the use of medicinal marijuana in certain circumstances"
    Adler and Colbert. Medicinal Use of Marijuana — Polling Results. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013.

    This number will continue to rise as more doctors, like surgeon general candidate Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon, realize they have been "systematically mislead" for decades in regard to cannabis. It is absolutely absurd that doctors can prescribe morphine (heroin) but not cannabis, a substance objectively safer than alcohol.

    "I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis." – Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Neurosurgeon, Surgeon General candidate, Assistant Professor of neurosurgery, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent

    "And it’s just not rational that adults don’t have the choice of using marijuana, but they do for alcohol. Marijuana is less likely to be addictive, it’s less likely to cause car accidents and birth defects, it’s less likely to cause domestic violence. So how do you rationally say that it’s OK to drink alcohol with that profile but it’s not OK to occasionally use marijuana?" – Dr. Richard Besser, former director of the CDC, ABC's Chief Health and Medical Editor

    The entire plant must be legalized for medicinal use. It has been found that cannabinoids act synergistically and are more effective together, even more effective than any additive effect. For example, this study found that THC and CBD work together in fighting brain cancer:

    "In the U251 and SF126 glioblastoma cell lines, Delta(9)-THC and cannabidiol acted synergistically to inhibit cell proliferation"
    Marcu et al. Cannabidiol enhances the inhibitory effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival. Mol Cancer Ther. 2010.

    There are many varieties of cannabis, each with their own assortments of cannabinoids and beneficial effects. Patients do not have time to wait for these natural varieties to be approved one at a time by the federal government, a bureaucracy that has even delayed approving a single, non-psychoactive (does not cause a 'high') cannabinoid, CBD, for decades and continues to do so. It is a travesty that the entire plant has not already been legalized. Let doctors decide which medicines are best for their patients, not politicians! Federally legalize this proven medicine now, before more citizens needlessly suffer.

    MPP – The Marijuana Policy Project – http://www.mpp.Org
    DPA – Drug Policy Alliance – http://www.drugpolicy.Org
    NORML – National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws – norml.Org
    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – http://www.leap.Cc

  • caliboss

    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….hope the EVIL POPE is enjoying the marijuana revolution around the globe, keeping the flock brainwashed and against marijuana, gays, and women's rights…you don't deny ease from pain and suffering for billions of people unless you are PURE EVIL…

    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


  • Derek

    It’s a start but it’s fairly absurd. Edible and vaporization only? Edibles are so much more potent and the high is more intense than smoking. Plus, I can see it now, in a state like PA it’s going to be near impossible to get a medical card unless you’re terminal.

  • bill

    I suffer from chronic pain and I need my weed. It will help me to not have to increase my narcotic pain killers and it wont make me sick to my stomach and waste away. You uncompassionate politicians better get off you ass and do something for your constituents that benefits them. I'm sure you can make some money off this one so just vote it in NOW ! SAY YES TO LEGAL MARIJUANA AND HEMP!

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