HARRISBURG — A group of medical doctors, local veterans, and their family members called on Pennsylvania state lawmakers Tuesday to support legislation that would allow seriously ill residents to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.
Participants included Dr. Sue Sisley, a nationally recognized authority on treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with medical marijuana; Dr. Sanjay Gupta of Donnamarie Freedman of Cumberland County, the mother of Dane Freedman, a veteran who committed suicide after struggling with PTSD.
"I will fight until my last breath to legalize marijuana for medical use, as I saw first hand what it did and how much it helped our Dane,” said Freedman, according to a report by PennLive.com. “[T]he use of cannabis gave him a life.”
The Senate approved SB 3 40-7 on May 12, and the issue is awaiting consideration in the House. SB 3 would allow patients with serious medical conditions to obtain medical marijuana from a limited number of licensed, regulated dispensaries throughout the state. Smoking would not be permitted, but patients would be allowed to consume marijuana in edible form, and patients with certain conditions would be allowed to consume it through vaporization. To qualify, patients would need recommendations from their doctors. Gov. Tom Wolf has said he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law.
"The evidence is now overwhelming that medical marijuana relieves pain, nausea, vomiting and so many other symptoms associated with MS, cancer, AIDs, and it does it with remarkable safety,” said Dr. Sisley, according to PennLive.com. "Medical marijuana is far less toxic than many of the medications that we physicians prescribe to patients every day."
Nearly nine out of 10 Pennsylvania voters (88%) support allowing seriously patients to use medical marijuana, according to an April survey conducted by Quinnipiac University. Nine out of 10 Pennsylvania doctors would recommend medical marijuana to their patients, according to a survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted effective medical marijuana laws.
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Campaign for Compassion is a group of seriously ill patients and their loved ones, medical practitioners, and advocates that works to educate the public about the benefits of medical cannabis and to enact a comprehensive medical cannabis law in Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://www.campaign4compassion.com.