Pubdate: Sun, 03 Aug 2014
Source: Reporter, The (Lansdale, PA)
Copyright: 2014 The Reporter
Page: A4


Is medical marijuana (or perhaps even Colorado-style legalization) 
"the next gay marriage"?

The idea of allowing equal marriage rights for same-sex couples was 
resisted for decades - actually centuries. But advocates persisted, 
attitudes changed and eventually legalization of gay marriage became 

Legalization of marijuana - at least for medical purposes - is on a 
similar fast track.

Gov. Tom Corbett said earlier this year he was in favor of allowing a 
marijuana extract called cannabidiol that has been used to treat 
epileptic seizures in children.

Last week, rock-ribbed conservative U.S. Rep. Scott Perry held a news 
conference to unveil the "Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014."

The bill, named after Charlotte Figi of Colorado, who was 
successfully treated with a hemp extract, would exclude therapeutic 
hemp and cannabidiol from the federal definition of illegal 
marijuana. Attending the event was Anna Knecht, 11, of Mechanicsburg, 
whose parents said they pray each night before bedtime that she will 
wake up the next morning. Anna suffers from Dravet syndrome, a form 
of epilepsy that causes frequent seizures.

Perry, a Republican, was touched by the plight of Anna and the many 
youngsters who suffer from epilepsy. He said when you research the 
issue, it becomes obvious that cannabidiol should be allowed for such 

"Once you educate and understand the treatment possibilities - you 
have to get past the stigma of what this isn't."

Indeed, cannabidiol isn't something Cheech and Chong would have much 
interest in because it's not intoxicating.

But under federal law it's illegal because it comes from pot plants.

It's obvious this treatment should be made easily available 
nationally - and it is astonishing that legislators are still 
dithering over the question.

Kudos to Rep. Perry for stepping pushing this issue forward - even if 
his bill is extremely narrow in scope.

A better approach to medical marijuana comes from conservative state 
Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon. His Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate 
Use of Medical Cannabis Act, would allow a much wider array of 
treatments using medical marijuana - including for cancer patients 
such as Sen. Folmer has been.

Rep. Perry's bill, if successful, would at least clear one stumbling 
block to hemp-based treatment by removing the threat of federal 
intervention. These are all positive developments. The medical 
marijuana legalization train is gaining momentum nationally and locally.

Does that mean legalization of recreational marijuana is on the same track?

Possibly. State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Delaware County, has advocated 
strongly for general legalization, noting the public favors ending 
such prohibition and that legalization, like gay marriage, seems 
inevitable. In a recent guest column, he recounts his recent trip to 
Colorado to investigate the legalized marijuana scene there and to 
sample a marijuana vape pen (a trip that was paid for, questionably, 
with tax dollars). He describes life in post aPOTcalyptic Denver as 
orderly and prosperous - not at all like some "Reefer Madness" hell.

Whether Pennsylvania will become the Colorado of the East remains to 
be seen. But there is no doubt that this drug should quickly be OK'd 
for medical treatments well beyond those in the narrow scope of Rep. 
Perry's bill.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom