Essential Pittsburgh: Pennsylvania's Push for Medical Marijuana

Jun 2, 2015

Legislation legalizing the use of cannabis extracts to address certain medical conditions has passed the state Senate by an overwhelming margin and is now being considered in the House of Representatives. Last year a similar measure passed the Senate but died in the House. Allegheny County representative Dan Frankel joins us to discuss where the legislation stands this year.  Also taking part in the conversation is  Vice President of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Dr. Charles Cutler.

 In response to skeptics who claim not enough studies have been done to disprove negative health conditions, Representative Frankel cites the amount of studies done on an international level:

"We believe that there is great efficacy towards using medical marijuana to mitigate some of these conditions and relieve pain, and that that decision ought to be left between a doctor and a patient, as it has, in some form, in 23 states who have legalized it to some level." -Rep. Dan Frankel 

Dr. Cutler counters with the United States' lack of double-blind studies performed in order to ascertain medical marijuana's safety, claiming that the country's major medical institutions stand in favor of more research:

"We've seen over the years, a number of products that were quite helpful in terms of treating illnesses, but had such serious side effects that they were taken off the market... If the FDA, in their wisdom, would be willing to re-schedule marijuana to a category where research could be done...I think we could get the answer." -Dr. Charles Cutler 

Also, Theo Collins describes a new documentary highlighting the tragedy of veteran suicide, WESA Celebrates wooden streets with contributor Margaret J. Krauss and Rebecca Harris focuses in on the community of Crawford-Roberts.

Project 22 (starts at 25:43)

According to the Veteran’s Administration it is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. This sobering fact served as the impetus for the documentary Project 22. The film chronicles the journey of two combat-wounded veterans who traveled across America to speak with veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide as well as researchers and healthcare providers. Joining us to discuss the film is Theo Collins, a law student at Duquesne, a Marine Corps veteran and executive producer of the film.

WESA Celebrates Inventing Pittsburgh: The Wooden Streets of Shadyside (starts at 41:00)

A joke made its way around the Internet this winter that time-travel is possible in Pittsburgh -- if you look into a pothole, where layers of cobblestone and brick snuggle under asphalt blankets. But on one century-old street in Shadyside, the past doesn't hide. Margaret J. Krauss reports.

Business Segment: Crawford-Roberts (starts at 44:40)

Cities are made up of a collection of neighborhoods with unique features and characteristics. On the first Tuesday of the month, business contributor Rebecca Harris will focus on one of the city’s neighborhoods. Today's focus is on Crawford-Roberts, which is a part of Pittsburgh's historic Hill District.

More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be found here