Pubdate: Tue, 15 Mar 2016
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2016 PG Publishing Co., Inc.


Medical Marijuana Deserves House Approval

The state House of Representatives should strike a blow for common 
sense this week and pass the medical marijuana bill that's before it. 
Senate Bill 3, approved with overwhelming bipartisan support from 
senators last May, has been examined, deliberated and amended to 
address every concern. Pennsylvanians suffering from diseases that 
could possibly be treated with cannabis deserve the lawmakers' action.

A legitimate criticism of medical marijuana is that regulation, based 
on the experience in other states, can be so lax as to serve as de 
facto legalization. Ask anyone in California how easy it is to find a 
Dr. Feelgood who is quick to certify that self-described "chronic 
pain" makes one eligible to buy weed from a handy dispensary.

Pennsylvania's strict proposal would nip such loopholes in the bud. 
Certified patients could receive the cannabis in a pill, oil or 
vaporized form; smoking is not permitted. Dispensaries could not sell 
marijuana in edible form. The rules for growers and dispensaries are 
properly strict, with an advisory board that would keep close watch. 
An electronic tracking system would monitor all aspects, from seed to 
transport to sale.

The poster children for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania have been 
kids like Sydney Michael of Fayette County and Leah and Olivia McGurk 
of Beaver County. They suffer from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of 
epilepsy that can cause hundreds of seizures per day, and which can 
be eased by the active ingredients extracted from cannabis.

They and their families have made dozens of trips to Harrisburg to 
lobby for a sensible law to help them and many others. Other 
Pennsylvanians suffering medical maladies have tried to influence 
legislators, too.

The House of Representatives owes it to them, and anyone in need of 
the palliative relief that can be derived from this natural 
substance, to pass this reasonable legislation without further amendment.
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