mike folmer

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Pennsylvania: Lawmakers Move To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Pennsylvania Senate moved Monday to finish a bill to legalize medical marijuana, a measure that has been on hold since last month.

The bill had already been approved by the House; the Senate added a few technical changes. The legislation could be presented to Governor Tom Wolf for his approving signature this week.

"I believe everyone is acting in good faith, but I will be holding my breath until the final vote is taken," said Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), who, with Republican Sen. Mike Folmer of Lebanon County, has endorsed the bill.

If the measure is passed, Pennsylvania would join New Jersey and 23 other states that have approved medical marijuana. It would allow people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, intractable seizures, and other conditions to obtain marijuana in pill, oil, or ointment form at dispensaries statewide.

Under the legislation, dispensaries will have to be licensed by the state, as well as those who grow and process medical cannabis, Doctors who prescribe it as a treatment will have to register as practitioners, and patients who want to use it will be given ID cards that would be renewed yearly.

"We have to see what they send us," House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin said. "Our goal is to get a bill to the governor's desk."

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Up For Crucial Vote

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania should face another vote next week.

As of Friday, state Senate leaders and state House leaders were discussing possible changes to the bill passed by the House two weeks ago, according to Fred Sembach, chef of staff for state Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, a key figure in the legalization effort.

Most of the discussions were about whether the House is willing to pass a bill containing changes being considered in the Senate.

A legalization bill was passed by the Senate nearly a year ago, but has been delayed in the House until it was approved by a wide margin two weeks ago.

The House bill was substantially different from the Senate bill. That required it to go back to the Senate, setting the stage for yet another critical vote.

Sembach said there are some parts of the House bill that could pose barriers to having a medical marijuana program that actually runs as conceived.

One involves the fact that doctors who want to recommend medical marijuana would have to register with the state and undergo four hours of training. Senate leaders are concerned the requirement will drastically limit the supply of doctors able to care for patients in need of medical marijuana.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill In Jeopardy In Senate

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 149-43 to approve a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state, but the bill may be in trouble in front of the Senate.

The bill originated in the Senate and was 69 pages long, but before it was approved by the House of Representatives earlier this month it grew in length to 154 pages. Governor Tom Wolf has promised to sign the final legislation, but senators, including bill co-sponsor Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), say the provisions could prove so problematic they could prevent its passage.

Folmer's chief of staff, Fred Sembach, said concerns in the Senate surround the functionality of the bill. From The Morning Call:

"I think, at least from the Senate side, there is a commitment to doing this right and doing it quickly. The question is what is the best option: concurrence or attempt to fix it now so we're not just giving a kid a toy at Christmas without batteries."

Any final legislation would take several tears to implement. Medical marijuana advocates are urging the Senate to pass the bill with the current revisions and fix the remaining issues during the period before the implementation of the program.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill during the week of April 4. If it is approved, Pennsylvania would become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Pennsylvania: Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

PennsylvaniaMedicalMarijuana(MedicalJane)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Pennsylvania Senate on Tuesday voted 40-7 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. The bill will now go to the House for consideration.

SB 3, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon), would allow qualified patients to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of licensed, regulated dispensaries throughout the state.

Smoking would not be permitted under the restrictive language of the bill, but patients could consume marijuana in edible form, and patients with certain conditions could consume it through vaporization. Patients under the age of 18 would be required to have parental consent in order to take part in the program.

Unfortunately, home cultivation would also not be allowed under the bill, depriving many fixed-income patients of an economical way to provide their own medicine.

Pennsylvanians suffering from cancer, seizures, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cachexia/wasting syndrome, Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury and postconcussion syndrome, multiple sclerosis, spinocerebellara ataxia (SCA), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and chronic pain would be eligible for the program with a recommendation from their doctor.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Senate Committee

PennsylvaniaMedicalMarijuana(MedicalJane)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill which would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the Keystone State unanimously passed a Pennsylvania Senate committee on Tuesday.

The bill, which would allow cannabis use for those with qualifying medical conditions, will likely face two more hurdles in early May, reports Tim Marcin at the International Business Times.

A bipartisan committee passed Senate Bill 3, proposed by Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach and Republican Sen. Mike Folmer, on a 10-0 vote, moving it on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, reports Tony Romeo at KYW Newsradio.

If it passes through that committee, the bill would move to the Senate floor, both of which should happen in early May, according to Sen. Leach.

SB 3 easily made it through the state Senate in 2014, passing with a 47-3 vote, but stalled after the House didn't take it up. Lawmakers in support of legalizing medical marijuana said they are more optimistic this time.

Folmer said he hopes the bill can reach the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf before lawmakers take their summer recess. That likely means convincing House members to get on board before the scheduled time off this summer.

"I know I'm being optimistic," Sen. Folmer said. "I get that ... I believe there are good people over there."

U.S.: ASA To Host Advocate Discussion of CNN's Weed 3

Weed3TheMarijuanaRevolutionHostingParty[MAPS]

What’s Next for the Medical Marijuana Revolution?

Over the last two years Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s reporting has been truly groundbreaking in mainstreaming the benefits of medical marijuana. Dr. Gupta has brought stories of everyday Americans that obtain essential benefits from medical marijuana products into the living rooms of millions of Americans.

“Watching CNN’s 'Weed' was the first time many Americans saw everyday people benefiting from medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “Seeing how much good medical marijuana can do has lead to an outgrowth in activism that has helped create new laws at the state level and is laying the foundation for important federal legislation.”

On April 19, CNN will premiere the third installment of their documentary series on medical marijuana Weed 3, documenting the ongoing developments in what Dr. Gupta has declared a “medical marijuana revolution.” The following day -- on April 20, at 7 pm EST-- ASA will host a Google Hangout to discuss the documentary and the issues it examines.

What: Google Hangout on the medical marijuana revolution and issues raised in Sanjay Gupta's Weed 3.
Featuring: ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, PA State Senator Mike Folmer (invited), Jahan Marcu Ph.D, Matt Kahl, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley.

Pennsylvania: Industrial Hemp Bill Filed In Legislature

PennsylvaniaHemplandSecurity

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two Pennsylvania lawmakers have pre-filed legislation that they say would help farmers become part of the multi-million dollar hemp industry.

"The 2014 federal Farm Bill authorizes pilot programs for industrial hemp, and SB 50 provides oversight for growing, harvesting and marketing a traditional commonwealth crop while providing new opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers," said state Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks County), who is co-sponsoring the bill with state Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County).

Schwank said industrial hemp has been used for thousands of years, and was commonly grown in Pennsylvania until the last century.

About 50,000 potential applications exist for hemp, including textiles, building materials, paper, plastics, foods, medicines, biomass, and environmental products.

"The use of industrial hemp provides a multitude of benefits," Folmer said. "The best farmland preservation is allowing farmers to farm their land profitably.

"Hemp is also a crop that helps the environment," Folmer said. "Consumers will benefit from the many uses of hemp."

More than a dozen other states have already passed laws allowing either hemp farming or research programs. The hemp industry was worth an estimated $500 million in 2012, according to the Hemp Industries Association.

Photo: Pennsylvania Hempland Security

Pennsylvania: Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

PennsylvaniaMedicalMarijuana(MedicalJane)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday approved a bill to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana; the bill now heads to the state House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 1182 would allow patients with certain medical conditions to use medical cannabis with a doctor's recommendation, reports WPMT Fox 43.

Cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), severe fibromyalgia, cachexia (wasting syndrome), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome are on the list of approved conditions for medical marijuana.

Removed from the list since the bill's inception -- despite clear clinical evidence that cannabis helps -- were 39 diseases and conditions including muscular dystrophy, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, hydrocephalus, diabetes and lupus.

Prime sponsor Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and co-sponsor Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County) made the changes to "keep the bill moving" despite misgivings from some of their more timid colleagues. The bill passed on Wednesday on an overwhelming 43-7 vote.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Rally Held At State Capitol

CampaignForCompassion

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Dozens of medical marijuana supporters on Monday converged on the Pennsylvania's State Capitol as lawmakers returned from their summer recess.

Parents of ailing children and patients with serious medical conditions spoke at the rally about the need for safe access to cannabis, reports the Associated Press. Many in the crowd held up signs with slogans like "Pills Kill" and "Campaign 4 Compassion."

The demonstration was in support of Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis act, whose prime sponsors Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) expect to be sent from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the floor of the state Senate next week.

"We are so close," Sen. Leach said, reports Kendra Nichols at ABC 27. "We are closer than we have ever been. If this runs in the Senate, we get more than 40 votes, and we are promised it will run next week in the Senate."

"We have counted in the House," Leach said. "There are 203 members. We have counted about 160 yes votes." However, Leach added, there is concern that the House "leadership" may block the bill from ever reaching the floor for a vote.

Pennsylvania: Lawmakers To Consider Medical Marijuana Next Week

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pennsylvania lawmakers will begin discussing a medical marijuana bill when the Legislature convenes next week, according to Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi.

Pileggi, a Republican from Chester, Pennsylvania, said on Wednesday that he plans to caucus a medical marijuana bill after lawmakers return for the fall session, reports Christina Kauffman at The Patriot-News.

Senate Bill 1182, sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County), passed 11-0 from the Senate Law and Justice Committee in June.

Pileggi said the medical marijuana bill has "broad support" in the Senate, and next week's discussion will decide whether to go forward with a vote of the full chamber.

Folmer on Wednesday said he believes he has the votes of 45 of the state's 50 senators, but the bill could face tougher going in the House of Representatives and with Governor Tom Corbett, who must sign it before it becomes law.

The final document is expected to be broader than a version the Governor previously said he would support, according to Pileggi.

Pharmaceutical companies are among the bill's strongest opposition, according to Folmer (no surprise there, medical marijuana threatens their profits), but Folmer said cannabis-derived treatments come without the life-threatening side-effects of many prescribed pharmaceuticals.

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 Pennsylvania Senate Law and Justice Committee on Friday voted unanimously 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.

(This trend towards "non-smoking" medical marijuana bills, by the way, is absurd, and also goes against accepted medical practice of letting physicians and their patients decide upon the most appropriate and effective routes of administration.)

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.

Pennsylvania: Gov. Corbett Backs Marijuana-Derived CBD Oil For Children With Seizures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Up for reelection this fall, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has reversed his position on the use of marijuana-derived cannabidiol oil (CBD oil), when used to quell seizure disorders in children.

Gov. Corbett said on Thursday he would support a "medically responsible proposal" for a treatment program using CBD, a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis that many report is effective in controlling seizures, report Amy Worden and Marie McCullough of The Inquirer of Philadelphia.

The governor claimed he had "considered the issue extensively" in recent months. Corbett also met on Thursday with parents of children with severe seizure disorders. "I have heard the concerns and heartbreaking stories of these families, and I want to help," he said.

It was not clear how many children would be helped. The decision was an abrupt reversal months before Corbett will be running for a second term as governor.

Corbett, a career prosecutor, had long rejected all forms of medical marijuana. A spokeswoman on Thursday said the Governor remains opposed to the actual use of marijuana to treat medical conditions. In a lame attempt to explain his opposition to the non-toxic herb, Corbett said he "had a responsibility to protect the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians," which translated probably means "Big Pharma makes better campaign contributions than medical marijuana does."

Pennsylvania: Families Testify In Support Of Medical Marijuana Bill At Senate Hearing

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pennsylvania families on Tuesday came to Harrisburg to testify in favor of Senate Bill 1182, which would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in the Keystone State. Lawmakers heard two and a half hours of testimony on the bill, which is opposed by the Pennsylvania Medical Society and supported by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.

SB 1182 would establish state-licensed, nonprofit "compassionate care centers" that would work with nonprofit "commercial medical cannabis farms" to grow and dispense medical marijuana, including "Charlotte's Web," a strain of cannabis with high levels of CBD (which isn't psychoactive but has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties) and low levels of THC (also medicinal, but with psychoactive effects), report Steve Esack and Tim Darragh at the Lehigh Valley Morning Call.

A system of regulation and security would be developed by the Pennsylvania State Police (imagine putting them in charge of medical marijuana, this should be good) and the state departments of Agriculture, Health, and Drug & Alcohol Programs.

Julie and Paul Michaels of Connellsville, Fayette County, and dozens of other parents with similar stories, want the Pennsylvania Legislature to approve cannabis for medicinal use, as 20 other states and the District of Columbia have already done.

Pennsylvania: Republican Helps Medical Marijuana Bill Advance In Legislature

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

State Senator Mike Folmer -- who was named as one of just 10 "defenders of liberty" in the Pennsylvania General Assembly by the American Conservative Union last year -- is publicly supporting an otherwise Democratic-led effort to legalize medical marijuana for the treatment of serious conditions.

Sen. Folmer has appeared on the Pennsylvania Cable Network to discuss his legislation which would legalize medicinal cannabis in the Keystone State, reports Karen Langley at the Post-Gazette. He keeps a collage of pictures in his car -- photos of children whose parents believe medical marijuana could have helped -- for impromptu interviews.

He has even given other state senators a packet which highlights findings from the LaGuardia Report in the 1940s, to the 1972 Shafer Commission, led by former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer, to more recent medical studies, all supporting his case that medical marijuana could help alleviate suffering without harming society.

Folmer had always wondered why doctors could prescribe opiate narcotics but not cannabis, but he became a vocal advocate after meeting with parents of children with epilepsy.

Dana Ulrich, who lives in Berks County, told the story of her six-year-old daughter, Lorelei, who has hundreds of seizures a day. The Ulrichs have tried more than a dozen pharmaceuticals, as well as a specialized diet, with no success.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced In State Senate

PennsylvaniaMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate on Tuesday would legalize the medical use of marijuana in the state.

Governor Tom Corbett has refused to sign any such bill until the federal Food and Drug Administration approves cannabis for medical purposes, reports John Kopp at Bucks Local News, but the bills bipartisan sponsors, state Senators Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer are working hard for its passage.

Sen. Leach has kicked off a social media campaign showing children who could benefit from medicinal cannabis. Sen. Folmer plans to hold a public hearing to educate his fellow lawmakers on the benefits of medical marijuana.

Children who suffer from severe epilepsy stand to benefit, the senators argue. They pointed to accounts of medicinal cannabis reducing seizures among children.

"This is a drug we need to get to these kids," Leach said. "If it were a derivative of a yucca plant, it would be in every CVS in the country."

Leach said the liquid drops used for children wouldn't contain any THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. They would, rather, contain the non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol (CBD).

This is the first time that Leach, who has long supported medical marijuana, has enjoyed bipartisan support. He and Folmer announced their intentions last November.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Has Bipartisan Support

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two Pennsylvania state senators on Monday said they plan to introduce a bill to legalize high-CBD marijuana for medicinal use in an effort to help children who suffer seizures, and potentially other patients as well.

Senators Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) and Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) said their bill would help ensure people can get medical benefits from cannabidiol (CBD), a compound in cannabis which has medicinal uses but doesn't get you high, reports Marc Levy of The Associated Press.

It was the first time any medical marijuana bill has been introduced with bipartisan support in the Pennsylvania Senate, according to Leach. The wording of the bill, which would limit doctors to authorizing medicine derived from marijuana that has more CBD than THC, indicates a new trend on medical marijuana legislation: excluding high-THC varieties, which, of course, reduces its medical effectiveness, since THC provides just as many therapeutic benefits as does CBD.

The political game they are playing, of course, revolves around the "but this doesn't get you high" argument, and plays into Drug War fears of the marijuana high which have been inculcated in the sometimes gullible American public for years now (we're just starting to break out of that cage of ignorance, as a society).

Pennsylvania: Parents of Epileptic Kids Hope Medical Marijuana Bill Passes

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Some parents of epileptic children in Pennsylvania have new hope as a result of research on cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana that has shown to be effective against seizures. The parents appeared in a news conference on Monday in Harrisburg, Pa., with PA Parents For MMJ, a group advocating for passage of a medical marijuana law in the Keystone State.

Heather Shuker, a single mother who runs a billing business, introduced her daughter Hannah Pallas to lawmakers at the news conference, reports Melissa Daniels at TribLive.com.

Hannah, 10, has had seizures since she was four months old. Recently, the seizures have escalated to dozens a day, hundreds a week. Doctors aren't sure what's causing Hannah's epilepsy, and no anti-seizure medications have stopped the seizures. The pharmaceuticals bring their own negative side effects.

Senators DaylinLeach (D-Montgomery County) and Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) will introduce bipartisan legislation to legalize medical marijuana with high levels of CBD, according to TribLive.com.

"I'm fighting for this because I want her to have an opportunity to have a better quality of life," Shuker said.

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