Medical marijuana ‘Safe Habor’ applications won’t protect everyone

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SWATARA TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. -- Some Pennsylvania parents seeking to administer medical marijuana to their children, can now apply to receive a layer of protection from the state.

Those applying for a safe harbor letter will be able to avoid prosecution for providing the drug to their loved ones.

Some parents and legal guardians who give medical marijuana to their children, soon may feel safe when they leave the comfort of their home.

Lolly Bentch said "a lot of people fee that patients will be prosecuted, they don't think that anyone will prosecute a mother with a sick child, but but we've never had any guarantee of that. We've never had that put in writing. This is a guarantee."

Bentch's daughter Anna Myers was experiencing spasms.

"She was also having these very, very strange, spasms and jerks. We didn't know what they were, and just sort of thought that it might be something related to autism,"Bentch said.

"And it wasn't until her psychiatrist saw one out of the corner of his eye and he knew right away that she was having seizures. From there it just escalated. Her health deteriorated really, really quickly," Bentch added.

Bentch is applying for a 'Safe Harbor' letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services, so that she won't be prosecuted for treating her 8-year-old with medical marijuana.

"You won't regret helping your loved one, not doing something for them. I don't want to live with that kind of regret," Bentch said.

While Bentch is relieved to be able to apply for protection as a parent, she regrets the law only shelters the guardians of minors.

Until the state finalizes regulations for medical marijuana, adult patients needing the drug will be without the same reassurance.

"My child is not more important than my dear friend who's laying in bed right now with nausea and pain from his liver cancer. I want protection for him too," Bentch said.

"We still have moms that we've been working with that have been fighting right alongside of everyone else that have kids that are over the age of 18, but cognitively they're just babies,  and they're not protected either" Bentch added.

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