The Push for Pot: Hearing Held on PA Medical Marijuana Bill
PHOTO: A Pennsylvania Senate hearing included testimony from people urging lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
January 31, 2014
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Parents of children who suffer from epileptic seizures were among those testifying before a Pennsylvania Senate committee in Harrisburg this week, asking lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana.
Deena Kenny says her 17-year-old son deals not only with seizures, but also autism and mental retardation, and his medications come with major side effects that even include violence.
Kenny says she has collected vast amounts of information on marijuana's medical uses and wants an opportunity to see if her son could benefit from it.
"I do not know if cannabis will help my son, but I can say what it won't do,” she says. “It won't damage his liver. It won't give him diabetes.
“It won't cause blindness or turn his skin blue. It won't cause him to beat me. The same can't be said for his current medications."
The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach and Republican Sen. Mike Folmer, would allow Pennsylvanians with legitimate medical needs to obtain medical marijuana with a doctor's permission.
Gov. Tom Corbett has said repeatedly he opposes the idea.
Leach is convinced medical marijuana may offer a last hope for families like those who testified at the hearing, and he says there's no time to waste.
"Every day that goes by, there are kids who are dying,” he maintains. “And there are people who, every night, they put their kid to bed not knowing if he's going to wake up in the morning."
Josh Stanley is co-founder of the group Realm of Caring, based in Colorado, where medical – and recreational – marijuana are legal.
He told lawmakers his group's aim is to better the quality of life for people with such serious conditions as cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and epilepsy.
"Now it's really time for states like Pennsylvania to come in with regulated, responsible statewide structure,” he says, “that can help myriads of these children here that need this, who should not have to move to Colorado."