By Derrick Stanley
The Pennsylvania state House could decide this week on whether the state should become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.
The House began debate Monday evening on a legalization bill approved by the Senate. The measure would allow people with certain conditions and illnesses to use medical cannabis in pill, oil, and ointment forms.
A vote for final passage could come as early as Wednesday.
Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, supports legalizing medical marijuana and has pledged to sign the bill if it reaches him.
"It is time to legalize medical marijuana, because we should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy," he said in a statement Monday.
Legal in 23 states, medical marijuana is praised by its supporters as a safe,effective way to help treat people suffering from seizures or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Several lawmakers have complained that one of their colleagues, Rep. Matt Baker, R. Bradford, appeared to be pulling a Washington-style filibuster Monday night.
Baker, chairman of the House health committee, tied up more than an hour listing his objectives to the measure.
"Marijuana is a dangerous drug," said Baker. "We should not be legislating medicine."
Other legislators have said medical professionals and families with loved ones suffering from severe pain had convinced them that medical marijuana should be legalized.