Monday, July 6, 2015

Medical marijuana advocates prepare for sit-in at Corbett's office

Two days after threatening a sit-in outside Gov. Corbett's office Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery)says with no word from the governor, he's getting ready to camp out in the Capitol.

Medical marijuana advocates prepare for sit-in at Corbett's office

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Two days after threatening a sit-in outside Gov. Corbett's office, Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) says with no word from the governor, he's getting ready to camp out in the Capitol.

"I'm getting my sleeping bag dry cleaned," said Leach in an email last night.

Leach and family members of children suffering from epilepsy who say medical marijuana is the best - and only - effective treatment for their loved ones' conditions have been seeking a meeting with Corbett for months to no avail.

At a news conference Monday Leach and about 20 people, parents and grandparents of children with epilepsy and some of the young victims, say they want a face to face meeting with the governor scheduled by Friday or they will wait outside his office until he sees them.

Administration officials say that Corbett and staff members have met with some families on the issue.

Corbett has steadfastly opposed efforts by Leach and others who want to legalize marijuana for medicinal used. Corbett says he will await federal government regulations on the matter and recently said he would not violate the law even if his young grandson, Liam, were suffering from a similar disorder because he would be "too emotional."

That response angered family members at the news conference - one of whom said he would "crawl across glass" to get help for his suffering child.

Christine Brann, of Hershey, whose son Garrett suffers from intractable epilepsy which triggers hundreds of seizures a day, blamed elected officials for standing in the way of her family's health care needs..

"We are not ‘too emotional’ to make a decision. We are however frustrated that politicians are preventing our trusted doctors from providing what may be our last and best medical option," said Brann. "We are clear-headed in our certainty that anything derived from this plant is most likely safer than our remaining toxic options. We have never protested a day in our lives and we are outraged that the governor is letting his ideology determine our fate."

Parents medical cannibis offers an effective treatment without the devastating side effects of traditional drugs.

Leach and Sen. Mike Folmer (R., Lebanon) have introduced a bill (SB 1182) to permit doctors to prescribe marijuana oil extract. Folmer has spoken passionately on the issue on the Senate floor and both lawmakers believe only Corbett's promised veto is stopping the bill's movement.

A spokesman for GOP-led House agreed with Corbett that the federal government ought to take the lead on pharmaceutical policy.

Tom Nadzam, 68, of Levittown, one of the parents and grandparents of ill children who spoke at Leach's news conference on Monday. Nadzam had a message for Corbett.

“From one grandparent to another, don’t let me lose my Lorelei,” said a choked-up Nadzam, referring to his 6-year-old granddaughter.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia,

Recent polls show 85 percent of Pennsylvania voters believe doctors should be able to prescribe medical marijuana to adults.


Medical professionals are split on the issue. The Pennsylvania Medical Society opposes the Leach/Folmer bill, saying more study is needed. The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association supports the measure.



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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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