Essential Pittsburgh
4:24 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

A New Push for Prescription Cannabis in Pennsylvania

SB 1182 is the proposed bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
SB 1182 is the proposed bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Credit KayVee / flickr

For the first time in the state Senate’s history a medical marijuana bill has been drafted with bipartisan support.

A poll conducted last year shows state residents support the use of medical marijuana. New Hampshire and Illinois legalized it last year.

Could Pennsylvania be next?

Heather Shuker of Valencia, Butler County, is the mother of a 10-year-old girl with intractable epilepsy who says her daughter is in "desperate need of medical marijuana." 

Because of people like Heather, State Senator Daylin Leach, along with Senator Mike Folmer, introduced the legislation, known as SB 1182, earlier this week.

Patrick Nightengale, executive director of Pittsburgh National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, finds the current laws that place marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance to be unrealistic.

“At the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in the early 70’s, there was an arbitrary and unscientific decision to place marijuana in Schedule 1, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and no medicinal properties. However, especially since California legalized medicinal marijuana in 1996, we have seen clinical study after clinical study—the type of studies that would otherwise qualify for FDA clinical trials—showing that cannabis can be effective in the treatment of seizure disorders, chronic neuropathic pain and a wide variety of other conditions.”