HARRISBURG — State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Delaware/Montgomery) at a Capitol press conference May 4 announced the introduction of legislation to permit medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
The bill would allow Pennsylvania to join 14 other states and the District of Columbia in offering doctor-supervised marijuana programs to residents with debilitating medical conditions. New Jersey passed its safe-access law earlier this year.
“It’s long past time we move beyond the misinformation and ancient wives’ tales and allow people to have the medicine that will make them feel better,” Leach said. “Medical marijuana has been proven repeatedly to help people who are desperately ill. It is nothing more than gratuitous cruelty to deny it to them.”
Leach’s bill would allow physicians in Pennsylvania to prescribe medicinal marijuana to eligible patients. According to recent studies, marijuana has been proven to counter the side effects of chemotherapy, control pain and relieve symptoms of glaucoma and other chronic conditions. The bill will mirror H.B. 1393, the Compassionate Use Act, introduced by Rep. Mark Cohen this time last year. That bill is under deliberation by the House Health and Human Services Committee.
May 4’s press conference, held in the Capitol Media Center, featured testimony from lawmakers, medical professionals, law-enforcement officials and local patients who support medical marijuana in the Commonwealth. A poll conducted in 2009 by Quinnipiac University found that 59 percent of Pennsylvania residents support the legalization of medical marijuana for use by eligible patients.
The bill is circulating for co-sponsors.