Pennsylvania: Patient Advocates Applaud Petition To Allow Medical Marijuana Vote
Planned discharge petition would remove SB 3 from House Health Committee where it has stalled and permit a vote in the full House of Representatives
Pennsylvania State Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives on Friday to remove a medical marijuana bill from the House Health Committee and bring it to the full floor for a vote. SB 3 would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to access medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors.
Rep. Matthew Baker (R-Wellsboro), who chairs the Health Committee, has stated that he will not call the bill for a vote there.
“There is no reason this compassionate legislation should not get a full vote,” said Christine Brann of Dauphin County, whose son has an intractable seizure condition called Dravet Syndrome. “SB 3 passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and is supported by the vast majority of Pennsylvania doctors as well as residents. We know this works. The time to allow our most vulnerable residents to access medical marijuana is now – not in the fall.”
Rep. Ron Marsico (R-Harrisburg) announced his plans to introduce a new medical marijuana bill in the coming weeks but details have not been finalized.
“Thousands of seriously ill Keystone State residents are depending on our representatives to support this discharge petition and SB 3,” said Mike Whiter, a combat veteran from Philadelphia who suffers from PTSD. “Chairman Marsico's proposal — that he write a bill that would not be considered until fall — is not a reasonable alternative.
"The longer they wait, the longer we have to suffer," White said. "How many patients will die waiting for our lawmakers to do the right thing?”
The Senate approved SB 3 40-7 on May 12. It would allow patients with serious medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of licensed, regulated dispensaries throughout the state. Smoking would not be permitted, but patients would be allowed to consume marijuana in edible form, and patients with certain conditions would be allowed to consume it through vaporization.
To qualify, patients would need recommendations from their doctors. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law.
Nearly nine out of 10 Pennsylvania voters (88 percent) support medical marijuana, according to an April survey conducted by Quinnipiac University. Nine out of 10 Pennsylvania doctors would recommend medical marijuana to their patients, according to a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted effective medical marijuana laws.
Campaign for Compassion is a group of seriously ill patients and their loved ones, medical practitioners, and advocates that works to educate the public about the benefits of medical cannabis and to enact a comprehensive medical cannabis law in Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://www.campaign4compassion.com/.
Graphic: Medical Jane