Pubdate: Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)
Copyright: 2016 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc


Both houses of Pennsylvania's legislature have belatedly voted to 
take the merciful and pragmatic step of legalizing marijuana for 
medicinal use. The trouble is that, particularly in the House, 
lawmakers couldn't resist saddling the measure with overwrought 
restrictions reminiscent of the Rube Goldberg bureaucracy the state 
still imposes on another long-prohibited drug, alcohol.

The state Senate can either substantially improve the legislation, 
which would require reapproval by the lower chamber, or largely 
accept it, getting the measure to Gov. Wolf's desk as quickly as 
possible and leaving major changes for another time. The latter 
course would be wiser.

One would expect to find the greatest anger and frustration in this 
debate among the cancer patients and parents of epileptic children 
being pointlessly denied treatment. And yet the avidly 
pro-prohibition House speaker, Mike Turzai, apparently refuses to 
cede the emotional edge, having reportedly screamed at legalization 
advocates and cried during a closed-doors argument with fellow 
Republicans who favor the bill.

The current legislation would put unfortunate and needless burdens on 
patients and providers. But the reefer madness still lurking in some 
corners of the legislature suggests that too much back-and-forth 
risks allowing hard-won progress to go up in smoke.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom