Governor Changes Position on Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett recently began the process of supporting a senate bill for the introduction of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. On May 1, 2014, governor Corbett issues the following press release:

Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett today met with parents of children who have Dravet Syndrome and other related severe seizure disorders to discuss a medically responsible proposal that would allow access to cannabidiol(CBD) in Pennsylvania.

“I have been looking at this issue extensively over the past few months and listening to many perspectives,” Corbett said. “I have heard the concerns and heartbreaking stories of these families and want to help. However, we must address this issue in a way that helps these families, but also protects the public health and safety of all Pennsylvanians.”

During the meeting today and in additional communication with affected families, Governor Corbett proposed several solutions, including new legislation that would allow a research-based pilot program with leading children’s hospitals in Pennsylvania. This pilot would provide access to treatment for affected families and further scientific study of the use of CBD.

CBD is an oil derivative of cannabis that is taken orally.

Governor Corbett also vowed to continue dialogue with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure public safety and health efficacy within the pilot program

“These families want a specific approach that will address the problem at its core,” Corbett said. “This administration is committed to helping develop a medically responsible solution.”

Attending the meeting along with Governor Corbett were First Lady Susan Corbett, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Michael Wolf; Physician General of the Commonwealth Dr. Carrie DeLone; Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis; and parents from two of the affected families, Deborah Knecht and Christine and Eric Brann.

“I look forward to working with the legislature to help these children,” said Corbett.  “We can develop a responsible solution if we put politics aside and work together.”

This change in the governor’s position is an important step toward medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. It is now the responsibility of the senate and the governor’s office to craft acceptable language that allows for legal distribution, possession, and consumption of marijuana in PA.