Pennsylvania senators looking to legalize medical cannabis (sort of)


Wikimedia commons/Michael Plasmeier.

A bipartisan pair of Pennsylvania state senators introduced legislation this week legalizing medical marijuana in that state. Sort of.
Senate Bill 1182 would legalize the production, possession and use of CBD-rich plants oils, tinctures, but otherwise leaves all other cannabinoids basically illegal. Still, the state governor says it won’t happen while he’s in office.

According to Sens. Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer, patients should be able to get doctor’s recommendations for concentrated CBD-based pills and tinctures so long as there is more CBD than THC. Leach also said patients would be able to cultivate up to six high-CBD plants at home under the current draft.
The move comes on the heels of other high-profile CBD cases including Charlotte Figi in Colorado, who was featured on a high-profile CNN medical cannabis special and Vivian Wilson, the little girl who helped change New Jersey’s medical marijuana regarding CBD-rich plant production.

Sen. Daylin Leach.

For those that don’t know, cannabidiol (better known as CBD) is just one of hundreds of unique chemicals found in cannabis. CBD has been shown to be very beneficial for patients suffering from chronic pain and seizures.
“There is no rational reason not to support giving a child this medication,” Leach, flanked by sick children and their families, said to reporters earlier this week. He also acknowledged that only legalizing CBD completely ignored the efficacy of the rest of the cannabis plant, but said sick children in his state need relief now. He said this bill is much more palatable in an effort to gain broad support among his colleagues. “We’re trying to accomplish the achievable,”
Among those pushing for the bill’s passage are Heather Shuker and her 10-year-old daughter Hannah Pallas, who battles daily seizures – sometimes experiencing up to five different types of seizures in a day. Pallas has been this way since she was 4-months-old. Experimental (and expensive) surgeries would require opening up her skull and essentially cutting her brain in half. But that treatment could kill her due to her weakened physical state. So Shuker says medical cannabis – CBD in particular – is likely their last hope.
Dana Ulrich is another parent who is tired of looking on as her 6-year-old daughter suffers from severe seizures, sometimes as many as 400 in a day. “My plea today to the government is to leave the doctoring to the doctors,” Ulrich said at a press conference earlier this week. She was flanked by Charlotte Figi’s mother Paige Figi, who traveled from Colorado for the event.
One person who doesn’t seem to understand the logic behind the bill is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who remains staunchly opposed to legalizing any form of medical cannabis. According to Corbett’s spokesman, Jay Pagni, the governor will stay opposed until the federal government changes their stance on cannabis as a medicine.
“As a father and grandfather, as well as being the governor, one of his primary concerns is obviously the safety and health of children,” Jay Pagni told the Delaware County Daily Times. “Even those he’s opposed, it does not decrease his compassion for children.”