Pa. House Passes Medical Pot Bill Senate Will Consider Legislation Next

By Langley, Karen | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 17, 2016 | Go to article overview

Pa. House Passes Medical Pot Bill Senate Will Consider Legislation Next


Langley, Karen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


HARRISBURG - The House on Wednesday approved allowing the medical use of marijuana in Pennsylvania, sending the legislation to the Senate, which has approved medical cannabis bills in the past.

The vote was 149-43, with all voting Democrats and more than half of Republicans in support.

Advocates and Gov. Tom Wolf applauded the House vote, which followed emotional debate from supporters and opponents alike. Julie Michaels, who has traveled to the state Capitol from her home in Fayette County to advocate for medical marijuana, said she felt a "huge sense of relief that we got through the House, which had been our biggest stumbling block to this point."

"Hopefully everything will be smooth sailing from here, straight to the governor's desk," said Ms. Michaels, whose daughter Sydney, 6, has Dravet syndrome, a form of intractable epilepsy.

The Senate approved medical marijuana legislation in 2014 and again last year. For the proposal that passed the House on Wednesday to reach the governor's desk, the Senate will have to agree with changes made by the House. Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, a major proponent of medical marijuana in the Senate, said he has to review the House amendments but added, "We want to get this done ASAP."

On the House floor, Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong, said that years ago he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma and underwent a lengthy surgery. He said he was told that his cancer is hereditary, and he told his fellow representatives that he has two daughters.

"With the odds somewhat likely that they'll deal with this, too, I want them to have access to comfort that I did not have," he said, his voice sounding strained. …

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