GUEST BLOG: Time To Send Governor Wolf My Medical Marijuana Bill

By: Senator Daylin Leach, Senate District 17

March 12, 2016

In November 2013, I stood with conservative Senator Mike Folmer for the first time to announce a historic thing in Pennsylvania: a bi-partisan solution to an important problem.

In this case, Sen. Folmer and I both had met with children and families suffering from diseases that they and their doctors knew how to treat but that they knew was unavailable to them because they lived in a state that forbid them from using effective, potentially life-saving medicine.

These Pennsylvanians were kids who suffered hundreds of seizures a week, cancer patients physically unable to bear the pain of chemotherapy, and veterans whose PTSD was so bad they could barely face the world.

The medicine that these families were seeking was a medicine already being distributed legally in 23 other states: medical cannabis. In the United States, doctors prescribe millions of doses of addictive and powerful opioid painkillers to patients, yet Pennsylvania has denied patients and their doctors another, often safer and more effective option for far too long.

Our bill – Senate Bill 3 – would legalize the use of medical cannabis by patients as recommended by attending physicians. The dosage and strain would be regulated and designed to treat a patient’s specific illness.

This bill has passed the Senate twice – with overwhelming bipartisan support – but the House of Representatives has refused to bring the bill up for a vote. However, recent statements by the House Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House indicate positive movement when the House returns on Monday.

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

That’s why I launched the “Faces of SB 3” to show lawmakers and all Pennsylvanians who Senator Folmer and I are really fighting for, like Hannah, a 10 year old little girl with intractable epilepsy, and Anna, a five year old girl who went to three hospitals over two years to try to find someone who could help her.

Hannah and Anna are just two Pennsylvania children who would benefit from SB3.

There are hundreds of other kids like them. If you want to help them, call your State Representative and tell him or her to send Governor Wolf our bill. Patients have waited long enough.


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