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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 30, 2014 03:47 PM
From: Representative Mark B. Cohen
To: All House members
Subject: Medical Marijuana
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation providing for the medical use of marijuana. This legislation (SB1182 PN2221), as amended, provides for the distribution of medical marijuana through licensed dispensers. This initiative differs from the Cox-Gainey measure in that it would cover a much wider scope of treatable medical conditions. Senator Mike Folmer, the prime sponsor of the Senate version of the Cox-Gainey measure, has publicly said recently that he is open to broadening the coverage beyond that in the measure which has already passed the Senate. Similar to the Cox-Gainey initiative, the marijuana would be a variety high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and very low in the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Most of you know that I have been a champion of the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes since 2009 when I introduced my first bill on the matter (HB1393). This initial legislation provided for the distribution of medical marijuana through compassion centers and was titled the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act after former Governor Raymond P. Shafer. Gov. Shafer had been appointed by President Nixon to chair the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, also known as the Shafer Commission. The Commission issued a report to Congress in 1972 with their findings, which called for the decriminalization of marijuana use and the adoption of other methods to discourage use.

My Raymond P. Shafer Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act has been modified to parallel the provisions of Senator Daylin Leach’s bill (SB1182), as amended in committee and reported unanimously on June 27, 2014. Although more restrictive than my first legislation, this bill would provide for the distribution of medical marijuana through licensed distributors and available to individuals having been certified by their physicians to benefit from the drug. This limited strain of marijuana would be most helpful to children suffering from debilitating seizure disorders, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and individuals suffering from diabetes, AIDS/HIV, and eating disorders. The legislation would also provide for the delivery of medical marijuana through a variety of modalities because medical conditions respond differently to the marijuana medication depending on how it is administered.

Other highlights of my legislation include civil penalties and revocation of licenses for violations of the act; prohibition of the growing marijuana for personal consumption; and protection for adults (parents or guardians) in possession of medical marijuana on behalf of their minor children.

As of the end of 2014, medical marijuana is legally available in 23 states, plus the District of Columbia. Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation and bringing Pennsylvania in line with this national trend.

If you have any questions, you may call Kathy Seidl of my office at 787-4117 or kseidl@pahouse.net.

Thank you.

Introduced as HB193