AP reports: “Gov. Tom Corbett has changed his position on medical marijuana policy and now supports the legalization of a marijuana extract to treat severe seizures in children, his office said Thursday. … Corbett had been under pressure on the issue from two state senators and parents who believe the oil extract, called cannabidiol, can save the lives of their seizure-wracked children. All four Democrats running to challenge Corbett in the fall support the legalization of medical marijuana, and some parents were preparing a sit-in at Corbett’s offices if he did not agree to meet with them.”
At PennLive, Robert Vickers writes: “In the same way wary Americans trusted staunch anti-communist Richard Nixon to open relations with Red China, skeptical commonwealth conservatives could also be swayed by Gov. Tom Corbett’s sudden, but deliberate support of legal medical marijuana.”
Some political observers believe having the tough-on-crime former prosecutor on board will calm principled fears in the House.
“I would assume that it would, if for no other reason than his track record and being a career prosecutor,” said Brian Nutt, a Corbett confidant. “They probably have the same concerns he had. So if he’s able to explain to them how they’ll protect constituents from widespread marijuana use, I’d imagine that would help relieve some of the concerns some of the members may have felt.”
In a statement, the governor said he had considered the issue “extensively” in recent months. On Thursday he also met with parents of children with severe seizure disorders. “I have heard the concerns and heartbreaking stories of these families,” he said, “and want to help.”
It was not clear how many children would be impacted.
The decision reflected an abrupt turnaround months before Corbett will ask voters to give him a second term.
Medical marijuana activists had, earlier this week, threatened to hold a sit-in at Corbett’s office if he didn’t change his position on the issue.