Pennsylvania State Policy Alert

Sent: December 4, 2009
From:
Topic: Medical Marijuana

Title: 

House Health and Human Services committee hears medical marijuana bill!

Message: 

Greetings and happy holidays!

On December 2, 2009, the Pennsylvania House Health and Human Services committee met to hear testimony on HB 1393, the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act. This important step was the first hurdle to clear to ensure passage of legislation to protect seriously ill patients from arrest for using a treatment option recommended by their physician.

The committee heard from far more witnesses who support the bill than from those who opposed it. Supportive witnesses included Dr. Howard Swidler; Edward Pane, CEO of Serento Gardens Alcoholism and Drug Services Inc; patients with multiple sclerosis and HIV; and myself. Many thanks to the Jewish Social Policy Action Network and to Chris Goldstein for coordinating with witnesses, to Dr. Swidler, and to the many others who offered compelling written or oral testimony. You can see coverage of the hearing here.

Pennsylvania medical marijuana hearing coverage at Fox 43 News

This was a very important step, but the legislation still has a long way to go. The committee did not vote on the bill. Committee chair Rep. Frank Oliver (D – Philadelphia County) stated that he would like to hold more meetings on this bill, specifically requesting testimony from the medical community and law enforcement.

Introduced by Rep. Mark B. Cohen, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, HB 1393 would allow seriously ill patients who could benefit from medical marijuana to use the drug with their doctor’s recommendation. Qualified patients who register with the state would be able to grow six plants or purchase marijuana through compassion centers, and sales of medical marijuana could be taxed, according to the bill.

Can you or someone you know benefit from medical marijuana?

If you are a medical professional or a patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, or if you know somebody who might benefit from medical marijuana, we would like to hear from you. Additionally, if you are a law enforcement official or a clergy member, please e-mail state@mpp.org to learn how you can be of special help.

Thank you so much for your time and support.