Marijuana legalization, a cause supported by parents in Pennsylvania, was brought before a legislative panel on Tuesday. Even though the topic of the legalization of marijuana was been brought to the forefront of many state’s legislative bodies, this time it is different. This time the main supporters of an amendment to the laws regarding marijuana usage are parents.
Pennsylvania parents took the spotlight at the state legislature to bring attention to legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Many emotional appeals were heard from concerned parents with children that suffer from seizures. The motion was to allow doctors to prescribe new forms of medicine with marijuana extracts to children suffering from the disorder. Parents stated that drugs currently being prescribed not only failed to treat seizures in many cases, but also brought about negative and violent side effects. After a two-and-a-half-hour testimony to the Senate Law and Justice Committee, mostly positive pleas from parents could be a sign that Pennsylvania may soon introduce marijuana into medical practice.
While there was much support from parents wanting marijuana legalization, doctors from The Pennsylvania Medical Society, as well as Governor Tom Corbett (R), oppose changing the law. The Medical Society stated that more research is needed to back the medicinal use of marijuana as a more viable alternative to traditional medication. They continue to support their stance on marijuana that cautions usage and does not recommend consumption.
State Senator Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia), member of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, stated that he has been skeptical regarding marijuana. The testimony by many concerned parents has moved him to co-sponsor a bill challenging the state’s current position. The move adds to the notion that marijuana legalization is truly wanted by many Pennsylvania Parents. There was a sense of great passion for the safety of the children of Pennsylvania who have debilitating disorders emanating from the panel. “This is a matter of great exigency,” said State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery). “Every day that goes by there are kids who are dying.”
Although there was great debate that opened up lines of rhetoric between lawmakers and citizens, the committee did not vote on any measures. Meanwhile, parents have looked to Colorado as a means of medical salvation for their children. Christine Brann, parent of a child that suffers from seizures, said that she and her husband are hopeful that an oil extracted from marijuana plants can help subdue the seizures of her three-year-old son, Garrett.
One parent even went as far as to call families “medical refugees” because there are so many searching for something to aid their children’s ailments. Hundreds of non-resident parents are currently on a queue for medical treatment in Colorado. Some parents have even stated that if their pleas for medical marijuana do not make headway soon, they will have to relocate to find better care for their children.
The Medical Society has called on the federal government to demote marijuana’s grade as a “Schedule I” drug – a classification that contains non-pharmaceutical drugs like LSD and heroin that have no known medical use. Such a measure would facilitate research in alternative uses for marijuana. Medical marijuana is now legalized in twenty states, including the District of Columbia. The growing demand to further research has the possibility to open up alternative treatments to diseases and disorders once shrouded in mystery. Until however, both doctors and lawmakers agree that marijuana has a future of well-meaning study, parents of Pennsylvanians who suffer from debilitating disorders will continue in their strife to lobby for the legalization of marijuana.
By: Alex Lemieux