A Historic Day In Pennsylvania

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director December 2, 2009

    Today is a historic day at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg — as lawmakers are debating, for the first time ever in the Keystone State, the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

    Kudos goes out to Philly NORML and their allies for working directly with Democrat Rep. Mark Cohen to introduce House Bill 1393, The Barry Busch Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act of 2009 and make today’s hearings a reality.

    Pennsylvania lawmakers will talk about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes
    via The Patriot-News

    The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today will hold its first-ever hearing on a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

    The House Health and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing at 11 a.m. in Room 140 of the Main Capitol in Harrisburg on a bill from state Rep. Mark B. Cohen, D-Phila., H.B. 1393, which would permit the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

    The time has come for Pennsylvania to join 13 other states that allow patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV or other physically painful diseases to use medical marijuana,” Cohen said in a press release. “It is important the committee and the public hear the powerful stories from these patients about the beneficial use of medical marijuana in treating pain and other symptoms of debilitating medical conditions.”

    Web streaming of today’s daylong hearing is available here.

    Testifying in favor of the bill: Chris Goldstein and Derek Rosenzweig of PA4MMJ and Philly NORML; Ed Pane of Serento Gardens Treatment Center; Bradley Walter who lives with HIV; Andrew Hoover of the ACLU-PA, Criminal Defense Attorney Patrick Nightengale; MS patient John Wilson of New Jersey; Brian Gralnick of JSPAN; Bob Ceppecio of The Marijuana Policy Project along with other local patients and professionals. Signed written testimony from 26 PA residents will be presented by PA4MMJ and Philly NORML along with 19 written submissions sent anonymously. Expert written submissions and comments came from the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, the National Lawyers Guild Philadelphia Chapter, The Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey and the National Organization for the reform of Marijuana Laws Deputy Director Paul Armentano.

    You can read my written testimony here.

    If you live in Pennsylvania and have not yet contacted your state officials in support of HB 1393, please do so here.

    50 responses to “A Historic Day In Pennsylvania”

    1. *ATTENTION* Gov. George Patterson-NY.

      Get on the stick man. NYS is in so much debt coming into the next fiscal year that we are laying off state workers on all levels, cutting ALL financial aid to schools, municipalities, and social service programs for at least the next few months and you have gone on record is support of “at the least” debating the issue of legalization in NY. Why does a local crime ridden big city need to lay off 20 police officers on top of all listed above when you have the power to institue change and be a leader. Lead New York State, let our state be a beacon of light for all the other states. Cali, Tex, FL, and NY are the drool over states for the majority of politicians, be a leader and trend setter, not a follower. Gov Patterson, please, NYS has been one of the top 5 taxed states in the union, we as citizens north of NYC cant take anymore taxes and our services are already run thin.

      No more Gov. layoffs (the $15h back breaking shovel swingers)

      No more spending on crap.

      No more cuts for vital services

      No more new or raised taxes

      JUST LEGALIZE CANNABIS and the results will be stagaring as long as the new revenue is put tword debt reduction not “new found money” spending.

      RON PAUL 2012

    2. Veckin says:

      Watching it now, WOOHOO! Way to go PA.
      Hopefully we can have 25 states with medical marijuana within a few years.

    3. Larry G says:

      hello. interesting, yet i believe the uptights do not understand the positive affects of setting these zombies loose on their structured society. i do not know if many of them even realise when they are speaking to a stoned-on-cannabis individual. some in- their-face examples of reality may help your cause. i am very much in need, but Alabama is behind the times. i volunteer to represent the cause anywhere, anytime.

    4. paul says:

      is there anywhere to watch this?

    5. randy nc says:

      Here’s to ya Philly. Hope all goes well for for you. Anybody know what the prospects for North Carolina MMJ are looking like?

    6. Deff Shepard says:

      please excuse me for a moment while a dance around and cheer at the top of my lungs

    7. At the end of the meeting, they announced a list of opposition to the Bill. Two of them I found obvious, the PA District Attourney’s Association (Pot arrests probably help their payroll big time) and A Drug Free America (I hope A Drug Free America is doing everything it its power to stop the sale of Prescription drugs, their drugs no matter what. Or is it because they’re patented, sold, and restricted and someone is getting a profit off of them, that makes it okay?)

      Do not forget that PA tends to be the black sheep of the Progressive Northeast. We pass some of the most backwards legislation thanks to the Pensyltucky phenomena (where as we have a progressive Philly and Pittsburgh, and a backwards, “American south-like” central and northern region.

    8. Jessica says:

      i watched it,but i am confused. i understood everything that was said, but there was not a vote scheduled and (no offense to anyone!) it seemed to me that nothing was done other than everyone speaking out on the issue.when are they going to fix it and let people be healthy??

      [Paul Armentano responds: It is up to the Committee Chair to schedule a vote.]

    9. samson says:

      What is soo wrong with Recreational use(responsible)??
      I am 30 yrs old and enjoy getting “high” in my own home w/out bothering anyone. NOW, I’ll admit, when I smoke it(cannabis), does relieve the pain in my hand/finger joints. And sometimes I use it when I get pain in my right hipbone from when I fell about 5ft straight down(sideways,too), onto ceramic tile. Never went and got it X-rayed either(no Insurance). But, I had to drive with my left leg for about a month.
      So, yes….even though I am not what one would call “seriously il”; Cannabis DEFINATELY helps me relieve certain Physical alements…and better than Tylenol ever does I might add.

      AND THEN, there are times when I have a Sh!tty day, get fustrated, or just feel “tense” or “stress’d” as they say….and Cannabis helps me remove that bad vibe.
      My thinking slows(slightly),…and “things” don’t seem so jumbled all of the sudden. And the next thing ya know !BOOM! the stress has been put 2 rest.

      I thought STRESS was something we as people are supposed to try and reduce in our lives.? Ya know, to improve the quality of it……

      I guess my question is: After you(NORML) manage to stablize equal Rights for Medical use of Cannabis; will NORML begin to tackle the Prejudice and unfair double-standards that surround Recreational use of Cannabis as apposed to Alcohal???

      I am ALL for Medical Marijuana and the reform of laws that keep it from being recognized as such. However, I am also for SAFER recreational practices(Bcuz drinking sucks), as well as SAFER and more ECO-friendly practices through industrial Hemp….I mean(sh!t) we could stop at least 30 to 35 percent of the world’s De-Forestation by a full on switch to HEMP-based paper products. Not to mention we could use hemp and cannabis stalks to make Pencils(instead of Lumber). And that is just one Example…..
      But, anyway….just was curious as to what NORML will do after the Medi-Juana front has given way??

      [Paul Armentano responds: NORML’s primary focus is to protect the personal user. I co-authored the book, Marijuana Is Safer; SO Why Are We Driving People to Drink? which lays out the “double-standards argument in detail. Feel free to pick up a copy.]

    10. Stephen says:

      What is the significance of this debate, is this just a debate or are they going to vote on the bill?