Medical Marijuana Back in Play in Pennsylvania?

Bill that stalled after passing the Senate last year is being reintroduced. Can it succeed in 2015?

State Sens. Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer are try, trying again.

The bipartisan duo — Leach is a Democrat, Folmer a Republican — have reintroduced a bill (below) that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. A similar bill passed the State Senate last year, but stalled when sent to the House.

“This bill needs to get done,” Folmer said in a statement. “There are so many ill and suffering in Pennsylvania that could benefit from medical cannabis – reducing prescriptions of narcotic cocktails of highly addictive and dangerous drugs. Medical cannabis is a much safer and more effective solution.”

“Medical cannabis is a safe and effective alternative to the powerful, addictive, and often ineffective narcotics that doctors already prescribe to cancer patients, children with seizure disorders, veterans suffering from PTSD, and others Pennsylvanians who suffer from terminal health problems,” Leach said in a separate statement emailed to reporters. “It is cruel to continue denying these people the medicine they need.”

Last year’s medical marijuana bill faced two critical points of opposition. One was then-Gov. Tom Corbett, who said he wanted the state to try a pilot research program before fully legalizing pot for medical purposes. Corbett later softened his stance.

The other choke point for the bill was the Pennsylvania House, where then-House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (he’s now the speaker) declined to let the bill come to a vote in the weeks before the fall election.

A spokesman for Turzai was not immediately available to comment on the topic today.

The announcement of the bill’s re-introduction came the same day that Gov. Tom Wolf met with families who want to use the drug to treat chronic illnesses experienced by their children.

“I want to give doctors the ability to prescribe medicine as they see fit,” Wolf said, PennLive reports. “It pains me that anybody, any citizen of Pennsylvania, is not getting the treatment he or she needs because of some legal impediment.”

The bill has been referred to the Senate State Government Committee.

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