Pa. Senate approves medical marijuana bill; House less likely

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HARRISBURG - The state Senate on Wednesday passed legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

But the legislation, approved by a vote of 43-7, faces an uncertain fate. GOP leaders in the House, where the bill heads next, say the federal government ought to take the lead on drug policy. And Gov. Corbett has said he is opposed to legalizing marijuana in any form.

The legislation mirrors medical marijuana laws in 23 states that require patients seeking access to medical cannabis to have a doctor's authorization.

"This is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people," said Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), a co-sponsor of the bill.

Leach said cannibis can bring relief to patients with a range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, post traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy.

Opponents said they they were reluctant to vote for a bill that would make a narcotic accessible without the support of major medical organizations.

"We need research," said Sen. Pat Vance (R., Cumberland).

Corbett has said he supports a pilot project at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia that would use a form of medical cannabis oil to treat children with severe epilepsy.

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