Pubdate: Sat, 23 Nov 2013
Source: Patriot-News, The (PA)
Copyright: 2013 The Patriot-News
Author: Daylin Leach
Note: State Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat, represents the Montgomery 
County-based 17th Senate District. He is a Democratic candidate for 
Congress in the 13th District.


Dear Governor Corbett,

I am writing this open letter to you today to express my 
disappointment in your spokesman's statement that you will not 
support the bipartisan medical cannabis bill introduced by me and 
Senator Mike Folmer. Further, I ask that you agree to meet with the 
parents of the young boy who inspired the bill you have now said you oppose.

As I assume you know, Garrett Brann is a 3-year old little boy who 
suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which is a form of epilepsy. He suffers 
up to 100 seizures per day. He takes a cocktail of very toxic and 
addictive drugs that have severe side effects. These drugs do not 
typically work very well and aren't working for Garrett.

What does work for children with Dravet's is Charlotte's Web, an oil 
derived from the cannabis plant. This oil is high in cannabinoids 
(CBDs) which help the children with epilepsy, but contain 
insufficient levels of THC to intoxicate anyone who uses it. In other 
words, Charlotte's Web cannot get someone "high". Charlotte's Web has 
dramatically reduced or eliminated the seizures in children who have 
had access to it, without side effects, without intoxication, and 
without addiction. With this medicine, Garrett has a chance at a 
normal life. Without it, he will die.

According to your spokesman Jay Pagni, you will not allow Garrett to 
get the medicine that could save his life because you want to wait 
until the federal government "makes a ruling on the drug being used 
for medical purposes."

But surely you are aware that this has already happened. U.S. 
Attorney General Eric Holder issued a directive indicating that the 
federal government will not interfere with state cannabis laws, and 
21 states now have medical cannabis laws and dispensaries up and 
running. There is no doubt that this is something we are permitted to 
do. True compassion involves more than saying you are compassionate. 
It requires compassionate, rather than cruel, actions.

Mr. Pagni then said that even though you will stand in the way of 
easing Garrett's suffering, this should not be construed as 
decreasing your "compassion for children." But I'm sure you can 
understand how hollow such expressions of compassion are to the 
parents of a boy whose life could be saved if you'd only agree to save it.

In other words, true compassion involves more than saying you are 
compassionate. It requires compassionate, rather than cruel, actions.

The Brann family has requested that I ask you if you would be willing 
to meet with them. They feel that if they fully explained their story 
to you, being -- as your spokesman points out-- a father and a 
grandfather, you would put ideology aside, and work with the Branns 
to find a way to help their boy. They would be happy to work around 
your schedule and meet with you at a time most convenient to you. 
Please let me know whether you are willing to do that. I appreciate 
your attention to this matter.

(Editor's Note: The Corbett administration declined an opportunity to 
write an answering piece to Sen. Leach's letter. In a telphone 
interview, Corbett spokesman Jay Pagni reiterated the 
administration's opposition to legalizing medical marijuana. Here is 
the full text of what he said:

"The governor is opposed to the legalization of marijuana -- even for 
medical purposes. This has not been given final clearance or gone 
through clinical trials by the [Food and Drug Administration. The FDA 
handles the approval of all medicines and protocols and that has not 
been done.")
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