State Medical Marijuana Bill Goes Live (Updated)
As we reported here on Monday, a medical marijuana bill –Senate Bill 1003 — has been introduced into the Pennsylvania state senate. Now that bill, referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, has also made its way onto the Pennsylvania state government website. Which makes it official. And now we wait.
As noted, SB 1003 is essentially mirror legislation of House Bill 1393, which was debated and eventually died in 2010. PhillyNORML reminds us of the hearings which took place then:
Dr. Harry Swidler, an Emergency Medicine physician, said at the hearings: “Marijuana is non-addicting. There is no physical dependence or physical withdrawal associated with its use. It is, from a practical standpoint, non-toxic. Marijuana is safer by some measures than any other drug. There is simply no known quantity of marijuana capable of killing a person.”
Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht testified before the HHS Committee in August 2010: “I have personally performed 17,000 autopsies and reviewed 36,000 other postmortem protocols signed out by pathologists throughout the United States. I have never attributed a death to marijuana overdose, nor have I ever seen such a death certificate issued by any coroner or medical examiner.”
Pennsylvanians For Medical Marijuana say the current bill, once in committee should be renamed “The Governor Raymond P. Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.” Shafer was Governor of Pennsylvania from 1967-1971 and a national leader of the moderate wing of the Republican Party (remember when that was a thing? “Moderate”?)
He was appointed by President Richard Nixon as chairman of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, and his panel would recommend marijuana “should not be placed on Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act” and “should be decriminalized at the federal level.” Nixon, of course, ignored the suggestions (after all, Shafer had given the nominating speech for Nelson Rockefeller at the 1968 Republican Convention) and conservatives decided Shafer was a general nuisance after that. He died in 2006.
UPDATE: Sen. Daylin Leach released the following statement to Philly NORML with regards to the bill:
“I’m happy to have re-introduced Senate Bill 1003 and am hopeful it will be brought up for consideration by the Legislature. It is a common-sense bill that would simply give sick people access to medication so they feel better. Countless studies show marijuana can alleviate the side effects of many diseases. It’s time we give Pennsylvanians access to the treatment they need and deserve.”