Pennsylvania Senate passes medical marijuana bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — A bill to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania has cleared the state Senate and now heads to the state House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 1182 would allow people with certain conditions to use medical marijuana who have a recommendation from their doctor.

This list includes people with cancer, epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, severe fibromyalgia, cachexia (wasting syndrome), Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome.

The number of conditions for which medical marijuana could be prescribed has been narrowed since the bills inception. About 39 diseases and disorders were removed from the list and include Muscular dystrophy, Crohn’s disease, Glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Rheumatoid arthritis, Hydrocephalus, Diabetes and Lupus.

Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, prime sponsor of the bill and sponsor Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County, drafted the amendment to keep the bill moving amidst some apprehension from their colleagues. The bill passed in the Senate on Wednesday by a 43-7 vote.

“It’s been a long road to this point and we have a long road ahead of us – but, with 85% of Pennsylvanians supporting the use of medical cannabis to treat our most vulnerable – I am optimistic we can get this done,” said Folmer, “This would have never happened without ‘the Moms’, a special group of people who have demonstrated the very best of citizen lobbying.”

The bill allows growers to supply medical processors to transform the cannabis plant into oil, lotions, tinctures, ointments and cannabis infused products.  Only licensed medical cannabis dispensers can dispense non-smoking medical cannabis to a patient with a medical cannabis access card issued by the Department of Health.

“We’ve come a long way from where we started, but we can help people with this bill – people who previously had no hope,” said Folmer.

What’s next?
The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for further consideration.

Representative Ryan Bizzarro, a Democratic member of the House said he will vote for the bill. Rep. Bizzarro said he expects amendments to be made, and he also expects an uphill battle with conservative Republicans.

The bill would then need to be signed by the governor. FOX43 is still waiting for a statement from Governor Tom Corbett, but in the past he has been opposed to use of the whole plant.

This vote gives Angela Sharrer hope. Her daughter has Epilepsy and suffers from seizures. Sharrer has advocated for this bill because none of the FDA approved medications have worked for her daughter. “Less seizures means a better quality of life,” said Sharrer as she fought back tears. “This is Pennsylvania history. I’m not a history buff, I don’t follow history, but I know I am a part of it right now and I am feeling very proud to be surrounded by everyone we are surrounded by.”





    • killziz

      It makes no sense to me that they would do that. what about the people in chronic pain that have to take all kinds of painkillers muscle relaxers etc. I am one of those people and I’m telling you that I would really like to get off all of those medications and go the natural route with medical marijuana, I know it’s a lot better for you than taking 12-15 pills a day. It should be that if your doctor thinks it will work for you, you should be able to get it, doesn’t that make sense? It’s not fair the way they are singling certain ailments out

  • OneMan'sOpinion

    75% of the adult population has chronic pain. If we put pot in everything with high fructose corn syrup, all fryer foods, all beer and all burgers, perhaps the world would be a pain-free place.

  • carol portzline

    Medical marijuana should be available to treat all diseases and the doctor should be able to treat all patients with pain with medical marijuana. Much better than pain pills and helps many patients live a better life. EVENTUALLY politicians will see the true healing benefit of medical marijuana when they need to use it themselves for pain. IT is truly a blessing to help patients with pain and it really does work.

  • C. Knepper

    How about doing something that benefits all tax paying Pennsylvanians, like PROPERTY TAX REFORM! I could care less about this stupid law. Anybody who wants some grass can get it any time they want it. How about getting rid of the PROPERTY TAX? That’s the real anchor around the middle classes neck here in Pennsylvania.

    • Jordan Lehman

      This bill is not meant for the p otheads, so you call them. It is meant for children and adults that suffer with a daily pain, such as seizures. You need to see a full picture. This will bring in more revenue to the commonwealth, which in terms can lead to means of lower taxes and reform. Without this do you think taking a weight off of us as taxpayers will help. When more people are relying on the government now then ever.

  • Shortie

    I have Glaucoma and medical pot would probably be cheaper than the eye drops I have to take so I don’t go blind, but yeah it’s taken off the list…SMH

  • vince

    This is bs I have failed back syndrome i was looking forward to this bill passing for Pain and spinal cord injuries. I guess they want to keep me in these pharma meds that are killing my liver and kidneys who are they to say who gets and who doesnt this is absolutely BS. I want my Doctor and myself to make this decision i dnt need no damn tea party REP TELLING ME what i can do and cant do the reps are paid off by pharma im telling you they would rather see me dies from taking these pain killers that are addictive rather than see me get off them and live a somewhat normal life screw all you politicians.

    • fridayschild0215

      Let’s get down to some facts. Fact one the government is supposed to represent the people not the other way around. Fact two there are 316.13 million people in America of which 189.678 million support legalization in some form or another. So I say if the government does not want to do what WE THE PEOPLE want then its time to change the government. So onto Fact three tell the lawmakers that we want it LEGAL and if they can’t or won’t give us what we want then we the people will vote them out of office and get lawmakers that will give us what we want.

    • fridayschild0215

      Also on a foot note if you have an employee who isn’t doing his job you fire him right. Well the government isn’t doing its job so its time to start firing people.

    • Brian

      I feel you and I suffer from SLE Lupus I choke so many pills down I can barely keep track of all of them. I Wondered many times if medical weed could reduce my pain

  • Jacquita Heidler

    Its long over due! My son has seizures and every medication they have tried nothing controls them. He can’t work he can’t get ssd. I myself have a long list of medical problems that it wil help. IPass it it today! Its long over due! I’m at my wits end! I also wanted to add my sons seizures started when he was 19 now he is 31. What a pain full thing the go through. I sit and pray everyday for god to heal him and the healing has been here all along. I have PTSD and watching my son suffer has made it worse. If it was your son governor would you pass it? Your damn right you would! A good parent will do anything to take the pain from their children. Even tho he is 31 he will always be my baby! So pass it! Now! One question? Why not for people going blind? And other diseases its been proven to help? Its a gift from god! Its been here all this time and politician’s have control over it! It’s a shame. All the people that could have had help for years! And they still suffer! Shame on all of you that are against it! Shame………

  • Brittany

    For everybody not included in this bill, I think it would be a step forward to contact your state reps, or even get petitions going. Rolling over and taking it how it is, is not the answer. I think people with severe depression and bipolar disorder or insomnia should also be included, not just PTSD, (although maybe they are, I have not read the full bill yet. ) This is a step in the right direction, but still a long way to go. There are still way too many people dependent on health threatening and addictive pain meds, depression meds, and prescription sleep aids and medical marijuana could be the answer for them/us. But, instead these people will continue having to continue illegal use or paying the insane prices for their prescriptions. PA is still one of the most backwards States.

  • Beavis

    What a joke. Callous politicians who fought to have all of those qualifying conditions removed should be ashamed of themselves. What do you get out of that? Why do you want all of those people to suffer? What is wrong with you? How could chronic pain not be on the list? You would prefer people take deadly and ridiculously addictive opiates instead? WHY?

  • gina

    I have been diagnosed with crohns disease and I’m upset to find out that this medical marijuana can not be used to help me. I take 12 pills daily for my crohns. If I had medical marijuana I would never have to take theses medications. One of those medications are also used to treat leukemia cancer. So I truly think people with my same condition as me should be able to have the option to have medical marijuana. I take medication just like someone may when they have certain types of cancers. So this would play the same effect on my body. Please help! Im sick of living my whole life sick. I was sick in the hospital for 2 months straight to get treatments when I was only 16 the time when most kids are living there high school years I spents most of all 2 years of highschool mostly in my bed or a hospital bed. And ive been there on and off ever since. It has been proven that this would most likely save me alot of hospital visits. Many people with crohns disease are born with it. Its not like hiv or aids were you bring the disease upon yourself. I didnt choose this it chose me. This disease happens to the healthiest people. Marijuana could take many things away such as the nausea, vomiting, loss of apatite, it could help me gain weigh because I would be able to eat better, take cramping away, bone pain, help with sleeping, Im constantly having symptoms like someone with a stomach flu… and people with stomach flu typically cant do much imagine everyday! im also have anemia (not sure what it does for that) stress can be very harmful to a person with my condition I think the marijuana would keep stress levels down, have been on and off of jobs trying so hard to keep a job and go to school but im sick everyday from crohns although I make it work because ive became strong because of this its very tough and luckily ive found people who understand my condition. But im tired of having to explain whats going on to the people at work at school because im constantly sick and they understand but why should I have to keep living this way when there’s this but you guys take people off a list who need it just as bad. The disease that noone chooses to have like why can’t you help every one please! Well although this will never be read by someone who could really make a big difference in many others lives I still felt id share my thoughts thanks have a good weekend everyone :)

  • Somebody

    I find it absolutely crazy that they can say it’s ok for severe fibromyalgia but not Rheumatoid arthritis, maybe at 31 yrs old I should go into the senate and show them the crippling effect of RA!! The fact that my children have to open jars for me and help me button my pants, that I am in pain every day of my life and that some days I cannot physically walk or drive or function as a normal human being. The fact that I have been trying every drug out there for this disease just to keep it at bay and that I am still in a constant flare up in my hands, wrists, shoulders, elbows, knees and feet. I have SEVERE RHEUMATIOD ARTHRITIS and it’s ok to prescribe me opiates that don’t do crap for the pain but not ok to legally treat with what I feel is a less severe drug, medical marijuana. Thank you Pennsylvania for making me ashamed to live in this state. There is no cure for this and it can cripple, disfigure as it already is and has the potential to inflame my organs and result in death but that’s ok, I will continue to be a guinea pig for every injection, pill, etc out there that has proven to not work for me. Thanks again PA for not having any idea what you are doing.

  • Zach

    Whats the point of even legalizing it for its only for a certain few disorders what about the people that suffer everyday from bad anxiety or people that pop 10 muscle relaxers a day just to get by…. If the state of Pennsylvania is gonna legalize it for medical conditions it should be for every condition that is suitable for the doctors to say that this is much needed.. I suffer from bad anxiety everyday and marijuana is BY FAR better that popping another pill… Not only that is just one more person that will end up in a clinic somewhere going through detox to get off an addictive pill.

  • Me

    My question is, how do you all know that medical marijuana will help? I would tend to think that you have access to the non-medical stuff. If you “need” it then go get it.

  • Ginger

    So crohns disease was removed?? Why? It’s painful and decreases appetite, how does it not qualify? But post traumatic stress does? Lol ok.

  • jamey smith

    so what they are saying is that all the opiate based pain killers which are basically the same as heroin is what they would rather these people take then give them access to medical marijuanna. look at all the issues with addiction to these painkillers vs marijuanna. why would anyone be against this? look at the revenue being created in colorado and washington then tell me why this is a bad idea for pa.

  • BeckyD

    Wow. I can’t believe some of the diseases removed from the list. Shouldn’t they let the doctors decide when it would be appropriate to prescribe this to a patient, disease by disease, case by case. Some diseases are worse for some people than others and and over the time some may become worse for certain people. Some of those taken off the list seem crazy to exclude, like AIDS. As for myself, I don’t think a doctor would have prescribed this for me in the early stages of my systemic lupus, but now that my arthritis has moved to my spine, causing me to have debilitating back pain and sciatica for the past year (and I’m not even 30 yet, and I refuse narcotic meds because I don’t want to become an addict), I think that now I would greatly benefit from medical marijuana, yet my disease is excluded. I feel like Pennsylvania is finally starting to make a progressive step in the right direction, but now it is being severely limited, if not made null, by the government trying to make decisions that should be left to doctors. Yes, the government should decide if it is legal, but as for what patients/diseases this would benefit–this is not something for politicians to decide, rather for medical professionals working with each individual patient.

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