Pubdate: Wed, 16 Mar 2016
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2016 PG Publishing Co., Inc.
Author: Allen Kukovich


A rare thing could happen in Harrisburg this week. The Pennsylvania 
House of Representatives could pass a bipartisan bill that the 
governor is eager to sign into law. This legislation could help 
thousands, including many children, with debilitating health 
problems. It is Senate Bill 3, which passed the Senate last May 12 by 
a 40-7 vote. This legislation would allow the use of medical 
marijuana in our state, something already available in 23 other 
states ("Pa. House Close to Vote on Medical Marijuana," March 14).

Ironically, 37 years ago, in May 1979, I introduced House Bill 1342 
to do just that. Back then, federally run hospitals were using 
medical marijuana in a research effort to alleviate nausea and the 
ill effects of chemotherapy and to provide relief to glaucoma 
sufferers. Unfortunately, that legislation never saw the light of day.

In the years since, study after study has confirmed the therapeutic 
benefits that medical marijuana brings to those suffering from 
chronic illness and other debilitating conditions. Under Senate Bill 
3, medical marijuana would be available to patients with certain 
medical conditions, including those with cancer, diabetes, 
post-traumatic stress disorder and Crohn's disease.

Also among those who would benefit are children with epilepsy. I have 
heard from parents whose children have frequent seizures - some as 
many as 100 a day. Their stories are heartbreaking. They have tried 
all the available pharmaceutical drugs and the special diets, to no 
avail. Only medical marijuana has been successful in reducing 
seizures for some of these children. Some have considered breaking 
the law or leaving Pennsylvania in order to get relief for their 
children. It shouldn't have to be that way.

For all those who are awaiting relief, including these children, it's 
time that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passes Senate 
Bill 3. It's time that Pennsylvania joins the 23 other states that 
are doing the right thing.

In fact, it's 37 years past time!



The writer served in the State House of Representatives from 
1977-1996 and the State Senate from 1996-2004
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