Pubdate: Wed, 14 May 2014
Source: Pottstown Mercury (PA)
Copyright: 2014 The Mercury, a Journal Register Property
Page: A8

Our View


The heroin epidemic ravaging the nation is tied closely to the 
availability of powerful, legal prescription painkillers classified 
as opioids. People become addicted to the painkillers but switch to 
heroin, which generally is cheaper and easier to obtain.

Such abuse of legal drugs is illegal and regrettable. But it should 
not, and does not, prevent medical professionals from prescribing the 
legal drugs for people who need them.

And then, there is marijuana. Pot is a curious case because its 
provenance in the culture is as a "recreational" drug. Yet marijuana 
has been shown to have therapeutic effects, including pain relief, 
nausea suppression and appetite stimulation. And now, an oil derived 
from marijuana has shown promise as a treatment for a seizure 
disorder that affects young children.

Two state senators, Democrat Daylin Leach of Montgomery County and 
Republican Mike Folmer of Lebanon County, have introduced a bill that 
would authorize use of the oil to treat children suffering from the seizures.

Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican leaders in both houses have said they 
won't support the bill because they believe that such policy should 
be set at the federal level.

Ideally, this is just what should happen. In the meantime, 20 other 
states that have approved the prescription of medical marijuana by 
medical professionals aren't waiting.

Pennsylvania should join them in approving not only the narrow bill, 
but in trusting medical professionals to prescribe marijuana-based 
medicines for patients who can benefifit.

The Obama administration already has demonstrated that it won't 
prosecute medicinal marijuana use where state legislatures, voters, 
or both have authorized it.

The state government foolishly has prevented several hundred thousand 
Pennsylvanians from obtaining health care coverage due to political 
differences with the Obama administration. It should not now defer to 
the federal government to deny Pennsylvanians access to medicine that 
could help treat their illnesses.

- - The Associated Press The (Scranton) Times-Tribune
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom