State Senators Jim Ferlo (D-38) and Larry Farnese (D-1) recently signed on as co-sponsors to SB 1350, a bill to legalize medical marijuana for ill patients in Pennsylvania. A Franklin&Marshall poll conducted in May found that 80% of residents support the bill. The issue is the most strongly backed public policy topic among Democrats and Republicans in PA.
The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was first introduced by House Representative Mark B. Cohen in April of 2009 and has bill number HB 1393. Senator Daylin Leach introduced the companion bill on May 4, 2010 bill number SB 1350.
The House Health and Human Services Committee held public hearings last December. This was the first time in Pennsylvania history that legislators addressed the subject of medical marijuana.
SB1350 has been referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee chaired by Senator Patrician Vance (R-31). So far, no hearings have been scheduled.
Both houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly should have committee hearings on the bills in 2010. The House may opt for hearings outside of the Capitol with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia mentioned as possible locations. The Senate hearings will likely take place in Harrisburg.
Many mainstream political analysts in the Commonwealth put long odds on the chances of medical marijuana passing this law year. Still, the F&M as well as Quinnipiac University polling indicate unparalleled bi-partisan support compared to any other issue or individual candidate.
Outgoing Governor Ed Rendell has voiced support for the concept of state authorized medical cannabis. The top contenders to replace him next year seem likely to offer more friction.
Medical marijuana advocates are looking forward to a summer of strong awareness for the issue. Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana and NORML Chapters are planning information seminars and events across the state.
For more about medical cannabis in PA please visit www.pa4mmj.org or www.phillynorml.org
Read the full text of PA's medical marijuana bill LINK
Philadelphia NORML Examiner
25th June 2010
A well sourced story worth a look at.