HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Advocates for legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania are getting public support from a celebrity.
TV personality Montel Williams spoke at the State Capitol in Harrisburg Thursday, urging lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana.
Williams said medical marijuana saved his life. "I walked in front of a car in Columbus Circle, in Manhattan, hoping he would hit me," he said. "It wasn't until I started using medical cannabis on a daily basis and getting my system saturated with cannaboids that I started getting relief."
Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 16 years ago, and said medicinal marijuana helps him in his daily battle. Williams made a plea to members of the House to pass a medical marijuana bill.
“If put to a vote, the bill would pass, and the Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to sign it—meaning all that separates seriously ill and suffering Pennsylvanians from access to a critical treatment is political maneuvering,” Williams said.
The Senate already passed the bill by a wide margin. The bill is now in the House Health Committee.
"We got to get it out of the House. We have to get it out of committee. But, its stuck in committee because of Representative [Matt] Baker," said Williams
Republican Representative Matt Baker is the Chairman. He doesn't want any drug the FDA has not approved to be legalized in Pennsylvania, and doesn't plan to bring the bill up for a vote.
"We really should not be legislating what medicine is, we should leave that up to the federal FDA . If marijuana is safe and effective you would have thought by the now that the FDA would have at least rescheduled it to a schedule two drug," said Rep. Baker. "This is fundamentally is inconsistent with how we approve medicine in this country."
Baker pointed to the lack of support from medical organizations in the state. "Even the national Multiple Sclerosis Society opposes medical marijuana, as does the American Epilepsy Society, the Cancer Society, and the Lung Association. Virtually every medical association in the state of Pennsylvania opposes the legalization of marijuana.
Baker said he wants to make sure it's safe. "It is defined by federal law as having a high potential for abuse, lacking any current accepted medical use, and lacking safety for use even under medical supervision. I do support research and development, I do support a statewide supported access program to at least see if that might help some children with epileptic seizures."