HARRISBURG, PA — A new medical marijuana bill was introduced this week in the Pennsylvania Senate, and a public hearing has been scheduled for later this month.
“The use of medical cannabis is an alternative option to addictive prescription drugs and a good option that the citizens of Pennsylvania should have,” Senator Folmer said in a statement.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee, and has been scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. The committee is co-chaired by one of the new bill’s cosponsors, Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny)
Previous medical marijuana legislation introduced from 2010-2012 by Senator Leach was stalled in the Senate Health Committee and never got a hearing.
Patients, advocates, medical experts and scientists are planning to testify. A rally by supporters is planned to accompany the testimony.
The name of the bill carries over from 2009 legislation originally crafted by Rep. Mark Cohen in the PA House and honors the former two-term Republican Governor who tried to end cannabis prohibition before it started.
Raymond Shafer was appointed by President Nixon in 1970 to oversee the only national commission looking at marijuana use when the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was created.
The commission’s 1972 report “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding” was prophetic, calling for cannabis to remain outside of the CSA and for possession by adults to be decriminalized. Nixon ignored the recommendations setting the stage for the current conflicts between state and federal laws.
“Senator Folmer and Senator Leach have crafted a bill that will bring relief to tens ofthousands of Pennsylvania residents suffering the most difficult medical conditions,” said Chris Goldstein, Co-Chair of Philly NORML. “SB1182 includes PTSD as a qualifying condition and proposes a non-profit distribution system. It’s time for Pennsylvania to stop arresting residents who benefit from medical cannabis therapy.”