Could This Be the Week Pennsylvania Legalizes Medical Marijuana?

Observers say bill could finally pass.

Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop in Denver, Colorado. | O'Dea, Wikimedia Commons

Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop in Denver, Colorado. | O’Dea, Wikimedia Commons

This could — maybe — be the week medical marijuana becomes legal in Pennsylvania.

After percolating for several years, the issue arrives before the House this week — with a full vote to send a legalization bill to Gov. Tom Wolf coming as soon as Tuesday.

The Post-Gazette reports that Wolf on Friday urged passage of the bill, issuing this statement:  “I support the legalization of medical marijuana so we can finally provide much needed relief to families and children. It is time to legalize medical marijuana because we should not deny doctor-recommended treatment that could help people suffering from seizures or cancer patients affected by chemotherapy.”

TribLive reports passage would be welcomed by Diana Briggs, whose 15-year-old son suffers hundreds of seizures a day — a condition the family believes could be relieved with cannabis.

“This is the closest I’ve ever felt it will happen,” she said. “We’re truly trusting their word this time.”

At PennLive, writer John L Micek sounds a note of caution, noting the House leadership has long been divided on the issue: “House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, is a legalization supporter. Rep. Matt Baker, R-Tioga, the chair of the House Health Committee is a skeptic,” Micek writes. “More importantly, so is House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, who famously offered an impassioned (and reportedly teary) argument against it in a closed-door caucus.”

If passed, the law would allow marijuana to patients with cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV and AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other illnesses. They would need a doctor’s certification to obtain the drug.

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