Pubdate: Mon, 18 Apr 2016
Source: Times-Tribune, The (Scranton PA)
Copyright: 2016
Author: Jon O'Connell


Local Cannabis Activists Say They Have More Work to Do.

A state law signed by the governor Sunday allowing the plant to be 
used to treat 17 medical conditions is a great start, those at the 
NEPA Cannabis Rally said, adding that they hope to see all its uses legalized.

It was coincidence that Gov. Tom Wolf signed the law, which opens up 
cannabis plants for research and treatment of symptoms of multiple 
sclerosis, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder, on the same 
day Jeff Zick and his team held an annual rally in Scranton's Nay Aug Park.

"We picked this day a year ago; we had no idea," Mr. Zick said.

While the new law joins Pennsylvania with 23 other states that have 
legalized marijuana for medical use, most municipalities still 
consider growing or using it a crime. Mr. Zick and others plan to 
approach Scranton City Council on Thursday to propose decriminalizing it.

"There's a couple of us that are going to state (our) case. We're not 
going to waste their time," he said, explaining they've gathered 
about 300 signatures on a petition.

Hundreds gathered in the park Sunday for the 8-hour festival where 
speakers and political figures drummed up excitement for the new law 
and pressed for further action.

Bob McDonald, a Luzerne County Democrat seeking the nomination for 
State Representative in the 120th legislative district, said 
recreational use should be decriminalized, too.

"Everyone understands that we've all lost the war on drugs," he said, 
adding that it's time to stop putting people in jail "for smoking a 
little weed."

Gabriel Chornoa York attorney, worked for the federal Department of 
Homeland Security in high-stress places like Iraq and Mexico City. 
The pressure got to him, and he was diagnosed with PTSD.

"I was 100 pounds overweight, I had hypothyroidism, lower back pain," 
Mr. Chorno said. "My body was breaking down, my mind was breaking down."

At the risk of possible criminal charges, he started using cannabis 
to treat his symptoms, and has been on a pro-cannabis campaign for 
the last two years, he said.

Mr. Chorno, who drove to the rally from Harrisburg after attending 
Mr. Wolf 's signing ceremony, credited one group of Pennsylvania 
mothers of children with epilepsy for helping push the bill through.

"Today, I'm a qualified patient," he said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom