For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth, a medical marijuana bill will have public hearings.
Patients with debilitating medical conditions, families and medical professionals willing to testify are being sought by Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana.
Though hearings were expected over the summer on HB 1393, the state budget crisis caused the delay. Many bills introduced this year will never get the chance to move forward. A Republican Representative's staffer told me yesterday " Just having this scheduled before the committee should be seen as a victory for the bill this year."
Representative Frank Oliver (D-PHL) chairs the twenty-six member House Health and Human Services Committee. Rep. Oliver and his staff have expressed support for the bill.
I'll have more about the proponents and opposition in PA legislature over the weekend.
A portion of the press release from the organizing group PA4MMJ is below.
WHO: Pennsylvania House Health and Human Services committee
WHAT: Public Hearings on HB 1393, medical marijuana in PA
WHEN: December 2, 2009 at 11AM in Harrisburg
CONTACT: [email protected]
Medical Marijuana Hearings Scheduled in PA
November 9, 2009
Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana (PA4MMJ) is pleased to announce that the PA House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee will have hearings on HB 1393, The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
Scheduled in Harrisburg on December 2, 2009 these will be the first public hearings on medical cannabis in the history of the Commonwealth.
On April 29, 2009 Rep. Mark B. Cohen, the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced the bill to legalize medical marijuana with Chris Goldstein of PA4MMJ. HB1393, is solid legislation that would allow registered patients to grow six plants or purchase cannabis through Compassion Centers. A provision in the bill allows these medical cannabis sales to be taxed.
Representative Cohen has taken on the issue with courage, drive and a real understanding of patients needs. At a press conference at the bill’s introduction Cohen said, "It's time to create a new, honest image for marijuana. One as a form of treatment that when prescribed by responsible doctors could help thousands of patients across this commonwealth."
Three newspaper Editorial Boards endorsed the bill immediately after it was introduced: The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Pocono Record and the Daily Review of Towanda.
The topic of medical marijuana has been well covered this year by local media. Rep. Cohen and spokespeople from PA4MMJ have appeared in television programs on the radio and in newspaper articles covering the issue.
The December 2nd hearings will feature PA patients who have the tremendous courage to tell their legislators about their personal experiences finding benefits from cannabis therapy. Medical professionals and other experts have contacted PA4MMJ and expressed their commitment to testifying at every stage of the legislation.
READ FULL PA4MMJ PRESS RELEASE
November 13, 2009