Image of Pennsylvania state for Medical Marijuana
HARRISBURG -- Gov. Tom Wolf met today with families advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana in another sign that the issue may have new traction at the Capitol.
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Before the meeting, Senate Republican leader, Jake Corman, and Democratic leader, Jay Costa, joined senators from both parties in a press conference led by sponsors of a bill to permit patients with a doctor’s recommendation to purchase and use marijuana sold at licensed centers.
 
A medical marijuana bill passed the Senate last year but did not move in the House, where Republican leadership had expressed skepticism that the state, rather than the federal government, should designate marijuana as medicine.
 
But the new House Republican leader, Dave Reed, supports medical marijuana, and said Monday that he had asked for House hearings in hopes of arriving at a version of a bill that could be a starting point for negotiations with the Senate.
 
“We’ve got too many kids and too many citizens in general that can potentially benefit from the use of medical marijuana,” Mr. Reed said. “We just need to make sure it’s regulated in the most appropriate fashion possible and that we’re not creating a lot of unintended consequences.”
 
Mr. Wolf supported medical marijuana during his campaign, and today he told the families, Senate sponsors Mike Folmer, a Republican, and Daylin Leach, a Democrat, and gathered reporters that he would sign a bill into law.
 
“I believe that doctors should have the ability and the right to prescribe the drugs they understand make the most sense for their patients,” Mr. Wolf said. “I fully support what these two are doing.”
 
Mr. Wolf's predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett, opposed any broad legalization of medical marijuana, though he called for the creation studies that would provide cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive component of marijuana, to children with severe seizures.
 
Among the patients and family members Mr. Wolf met was 2-year-old Monroe Barrett, of New Bethlehem, whose intractable epilepsy causes convulsions that last from five minutes to two-and-a-half hours, said his mother, Haley Barrett.
 
“It’s very hard,” Ms. Barrett said. “We mostly end up at the emergency room when he has them that long.”
 
 
Karen Langley ~ ~ January 27, 2015
 
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