A pair of Pennsylvania senators has introduced legislation that would legalize the cultivation of state-regulated CBD-rich cannabis plants and the production of high-CBD oils and tinctures, but the rest of the cannabis plant would remain illegal.
Senate Bill 1182, sponsored by Sens. Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer, would legalize a specific strain of cannabis bred in Colorado by one specific medical cannabis shop that has been made famous through several high-profile media specials. Both lawmakers say the bill is aimed to help children suffering from severe seizure disorders.
The bill would legalize the production of “Charlotte’s Web”, a high-CBD strain bred by a group of Colorado dispensary owners. Interestingly, the bill specifically calls for “Charlotte’s Web” and seems to ignore the fact that Charlotte’s Web is merely a proprietary version of a high-CBD plant and that there are other known high-CBD strains out there that don’t require paying high premiums to a few people good at marketing plant names.
The CBD-only proposal is a step backwards from proposals Leach has made in the past, but even Leach agrees that something has to be done to help sick children and waiting on the state to come around to outright medical cannabis legalization is coming at a cost to Pennsylvania families.
Families like the Michaels, from Connellsville. Their four-year-old daughter Sydney suffers from a severe form of epilepsy that they say could eventually be the death of her.
There’s some high-level support for the bill, including the state Nurses Association. The bill also has the support of Dr. Lidia Comini Turzai, a high-profile physician in the state and wife of the House Majority Leader.
“We strongly urge all Pennsylvania legislators and Gov. Corbett to support this bill,” Sydney’s mother, Julie Michaels, said at a rally this week.
But that might be a problem. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has been a longstanding opponent of medical cannabis in his state. Even a recent “softening” of his position that medical marijuana should be allowed if the feds allow it doesn’t leave much room for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania any time soon.
“The governor has great empathy for patients and for families of individuals that may be dealing with serious medical issues and are looking for solutions and relief,” said Jay Pagni, spokesman for Corbett’s office earlier this month. “If the FDA deems that the health benefits of that treatment are appropriate safe and effective, the governor would be interested in seeing what those results would be.”