BLOG: With House Back in Session, Medical Marijuana Bill Should Go to Gov. Wolf’s Desk

By: J.J. Abbott, Deputy Press Secretary

March 14, 2016

With the Pennsylvania House of Representatives back in session today, we hope to finally see Medical Cannabis Senate Bill 3, which would allow for certain patients to gain access to medical marijuana, pass and go to Governor Wolf for signing into law.

As the only remaining hurdle to common sense medical marijuana legislation in Pennsylvania, the House’s inaction on this important issue has long frustrated families suffering from diseases that could be treated with medical cannabis.

Despite historic support among Pennsylvanians for medical marijuana and bipartisan support in the Senate, the House has not been able to get it done.

This weekend, we highlighted the perspective of Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County), who along with his colleague across the aisle Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) has been leading the fight to send Governor Wolf their medical marijuana bill. Here’s what he said:

“In the Capitol, we too often lose sight of the real people we could help if only Harrisburg could just get its act together.”

Yesterday, Governor Wolf reiterated his support for the bill:

“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. I urge quick action by the legislature to legalize medical marijuana.”

For years, editorial boards have also been calling for the Legislature to act on this issue:

Delco Daily Times: Start Pa.’s year on a high note: OK medical marijuana – “An overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians favor allowing marijuana for medical purposes — particularly to help fight seizures suffered by youngsters.” (Dec. 2014)

Carlisle Sentinel: Pass medical marijuana legislation – “By our count, we editorialized four times in 2014 in support of medicinal marijuana in Pennsylvania. We’re not even halfway through the first month of 2015, and we already feel the need to state the obvious: Both houses of the Legislature need to make it so.” (Jan. 2015)

Pocono Record: Support legalized cannabis in Pennsylvania – “The state Senate likely has the votes to pass the measure, but Monroe County’s House representatives should get on board, too, helping to send it to the governor for his signature to give afflicted individuals of any age welcome relief from their symptoms.” (Jan. 2015)

Harrisburg Patriot News: Stop blowing smoke – legalize medical marijuana – “When the Senate sent the House a legalization bill last year, just weeks remained in the legislative session. Lawmakers had yet to hold hearings or vet the issue in any meaningful way. The bill died without ever coming to a vote. … When, and not if, a bill comes over from the Senate, the House should pass it and send it to Wolf for his signature. And if that does not happen, House members should personally explain why, when they had a chance to alleviate their constituents’ suffering, they did not act.” (April 2015)

Sunbury Daily Item: Time to move on medical marijuana – “Advocates for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania are frustrated because it has been on the verge of passage for several years. Gov. Wolf said he will sign any bill legalizing medicinal usage, but it has to get to his desk first.” (Jan. 2016)

Lehigh Valley Express Times: Medical marijuana law is within reach in Pa. -“Pennsylvania needs a common-sense medical marijuana program. The only thing stopping a Senate-passed bill from becoming law is a list of 200 potential amendments in the state House of Representatives.” (Feb. 2016)

The Pennsylvania Senate has passed this bill twice with overwhelming bipartisan support. This week, we will find out if the House will do the right thing for too many children and suffering patients.

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