School Closings & Delays

Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced Into State Senate

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HARRISBURG -- The legalization of medical marijuana may be closer than it's ever been in Pennsylvania.  The issue is back in the state legislature and now it has support from Governor Tom Wolf.

A bill to legalize marijuana for medical use was introduced in the state senate this week. In the past, Governor Tom Corbett opposed such a bill. But today, our new governor did what lawmakers called a "180" and said that he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law.

Opinions here in our area though aren't as concrete.

If it passes a series of legislative hurdles, medical marijuana could soon be legal in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania would become the 24th state to allow pot to treat certain health problems.  But, it's still seen as a little too progressive for some people in our area.

"It could be good and bad. I mean, if it helps with the problems that you're having with the pain and everything that`s fine, but it could just lead to dependency," said Joe Rutledge of Elmhurst.

That was the stance Governor Tom Corbett had when the bill passed the senate in 2014. Now in 2015, Governor Wolf said he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law. He met with long-time supporters of the bill in Harrisburg Tuesday.

A change of tune in the governor's office has some people thinking that medical pot may be closer than it's ever been before.

"I think it`s going to make a lot of people, make it a lot easier to get to, because a lot of people could also go in there and just pretend they`re sick for medical reasons just to get the marijuana. So, I think it`s a bad idea," said Marilyn Portis of Carbondale.

Doctors in northeastern Pennsylvania are also saying, "not so fast."

"Currently, the medical society thinks, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence but no real concrete evidence right now," said Dr. Ariane Conaboy, president of The Lackawanna County Medical Society.

Dr. Conaboy and other members think it's too soon for medical marijuana to be legal in Pennsylvania.

She said there's not enough research about marijuana's medical benefits or consequences.

"If we do have people who could potentially be taking medical marijuana, are they able to drive? Are they able to do certain things? Does this cause certain inhibitions at times?" Dr. Conaboy added.

Members of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Cannabis Network, a group based out of Lackawanna County that supports legalizing medical marijuana, sent several members down to Harrisburg Tuesday to show support for the bill.

The bill needs to pass the senate, then the house before it gets to the governor's desk.

51 comments

  • Mad In Hazleton

    If controlled the right way then yes pot does help certain people, but like anything else lying cheating, everybody and their brothers will have a medical pot card…….then we will turn into Colo.
    I worked with High people who smoked pot at lunch times while in the service, once back out on the job it wasn’t very safe for us non high guys with tools being dropped on you from above.

  • dm

    Sad that so many are not informed about the benefits of medical marijuana. This isn’t reefer madness. This is a substance that a patient will need an Rx for and will need to go to a licensed dispensary to get his or her Rx filled. Quite frankly, I don’t think the bill goes far enough. It’s too restrictive. When the politicians figure out how much money they can get in taxes, the restrictions will probably loosen a bit. Come on Pennsylvania, come into the 21st century.

  • Ingrid Smith

    Do you know what its like to live in a body that hates you? Constant migraines, Fibromyalgia caused by a doctor’s mistake that gave you PTSD because the incision completely opened while leaving the hospital? Yea there is synthetic “pot pills” my insurance no longer covers once “Affordable healthcare” kicked in. While on them, no daily blinding migraines, no daily abilitating body aches, I was swimming laps, walking, getting strong again. Then boom!No more coverage for that drug. I can go on the streets blindly to get a bag of weed, but then get caught? I’m in jail because all I want to do is feel normal again. Before 2010, I was fit, trim, strong for the first time in my life. An occasional migraine but I could hike to the top of Ricketts Glen. I might be able to walk through the woods now but will pay for it for 3 days laid up in bed.
    #1 I’m not a smoker. Can’t stand smoking it, #2 given to people like me who need it, should and would be responsible #3 you’d know its source and not be worried it was laced with something. Finally, my purpose is to make it into an oil that you then put into gelcaps you get at a health food store & take them that way. I want it for its cannabanoids, not its high. There is a strain called Charlotte’s Web. Its mostly cannabanoids, not THC. I would be thrilled with that & its even safe for children who may have over 100 seizures a day.
    Marijuana has benefits. Safer than drinking, method, heroine, cocaine and so many other street drugs. Make it legal and safe here in PA so people like me, responsible people can live our lives again. Something to really consider…..

  • DR. Ken

    Agreed, not so fast..If its corporate pharmaceuticals, we have no speed limit. Obviously, we love introducing new pharmaceuticals, the populace receives a new commercial for a new approved drug every other day. We cant approve this, yet… we must have time to work out details on where we are going to get our share of profit from this.
    We are physicians, we should be in control of all things medical…personal choice should be irrelevant without our consent. We are on a grand pedestal and this is a threat to our position and finances, both personally and professionally.
    .

    • JR

      This plant and its native and natural elements for many positive uses are for the people, not your bank account nor your medical pride. The benefits have been known by many before medical institutions even existed and have been passed down to lucky generations who’ve maintained this knowledge. I hope you and all other Dr’s help make the masses aware without tainting it. Peace to you.

  • legalize it, tax it,control it,same as alcohol and tobacco

    Here is a quick scenario, 3 guys and 1 girl in a room with a couple bottles of booze, within 2 hours, the 3 guys are fighting, because they are drunk, and want to prove who the tuff guy is, that gets/impresses the girl. NOW, same 3 guys and the same 1 girl, in the same room, NO BOOZE THIS TIME. Give them some marijuana brownies to eat(smoking anything isn’t good for your lungs), in an hour they will argue/debate, but it will be over who is walking to the store to get a gallon of milk, and 2 boxes, maybe 3, of double stuffed Oreos, and what flavor ice cream to get. The only thing criminal about marijuana, ARE THE LAWS.

  • Brian Sullivan

    5000 thousand years and found in the graves of shamans round the world. I’m getting too old to ask permission to live my life more and more restricted to profit another. Earn your own profit. This state steals from peter to pay paul. There is no honor amongst thieves. Yet even they crave some system of balance,. The devastation of the natural world is only reflected by your political one. Imbalances are self correcting, but at an extreme cost. Ready to pay the piper yet, cause the longer you wait, the higher the tab. Wake up or sleep til your dollar gets nibbled away by their high cost of living/stealing. Maybe the cure is to let people be the source of production again. Everything doesn’t need an apple logo on it.

  • Liz

    Humans have been using cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes for over 8,000 years. Did you read that 8,000 years longer than the 78 years it’s been illegal. If i had cancer or some horrible illness that cannabis is known to treat than I would want to have access to all possible medications. Cannabis is the one medicine that doesn’t have any adverse side effects that a lot of medications have. If your thinking will it get me high? There’s the other chemical in cannabis that’s called cbd and it will give all the benefits of cannabis without the so called high that thc does. Wake up people and do your research. The time has come to stop the useless prohibition on a plant that has literally been around humans for most of history on earth.

  • The truth you don't want to hear.

    If they want to pass it as Medical, they may as well pass it as Recreational and avoid the bull that will follow wasting time prosecuting one from another. BUT, have any of you noticed, or even pay attention to notice, that there is a big wave of legalizing it at the same time as a hard push against the Second Amendment? There are no coincidences.

    • Tony

      Theres been a hard push agains the second admendment since at least the Clinton era. This most recent push for legal cannabis is just in the past decade. If you really want to go back, the legal cannabis fight goes back to the 60’s. You should stop posting until you know what you are talking about.

  • Wake Up!!

    I am about sick and tired of hearing about “driving under the influence” of marijuana. There are facts to disprove your propaganda, people. The statistics show that being “under the influence” of marijuana behind the wheel is about as deadly as being “under the influence” of caffeine or tobacco. It is unfortunate that with legalization comes a whole new avenue for police to “suspect” someone of driving under the influence of marijuana, which tends to stay in the body for a far longer time than alcohol or other prescription and illicit drugs. Besides, anyone that I’ve ever witnessed driving under the influence of marijuana is most likely to never break the speed limit and is way too cautious to get in even a minor fender bender because they drive a lot less aggressive than any normal driver or someone drinking a coffee and smoking a cigarette.

  • Cody

    y’all can say marijuana is bad. I’ve been using marijuana as a medicine for depression.I have a whole bottle of axle which is for depression bipolar and suicide thoughts. I got a whole bottle December took two of them. Since then I haven’t touched at one. Weed is like my medicine. It helps Im not over controlled by pills. What I mean is when I was on Paxil I had thoughts of killing my self and etc. now I don’t im more me. Happy I can eat better and sleep better. Yes I can drive and plant a garden. You people don’t have research in this. You always been told marijuana Is bad. But it’s not u got thc and cbc witch helps u. But you people all didn’t know that too. Go figure I hope they pass it and work with it also. You people just need to read and use google.com to research . this. You can train a soldier to kill but people who need marijuana Can’t get it ? You tell me what’s wrong about that.

  • FM

    ““If we do have people who could potentially be taking medical marijuana, are they able to drive? Are they able to do certain things? Does this cause certain inhibitions at times?’ Dr. Conaboy added.”

    I just read my Lotrel Warning label and my Lasix warning label… your argument is invalid.

    • prohibition doesn't work

      Currently, the medical society thinks, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence but no real concrete evidence right now,” said Dr. Ariane Conaboy, president of The Lackawanna County Medical Society. ASK THE LACKAWANNA COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY, HOW MANY PHARMACY/CONVENTIONS/VACATIONS/GIFT, DID THEY RECEIVE FROM THE BIG PHARMACY COMPANIES IN THE PAST 10 YEARS. They keep pushing those opiate pain killers, because that is where the big money is. Along with all the other prescriptions they write. She is worried about side effects? Ever listen to the TV commercials, Crestor will lower your cholesterol, and give you 20 other illnesses. Give me a break, that argument is old, tired, and weak.

  • crisis actor

    boy, so you can pass this bill in a heartbeat ,but not property tax no dont want to talk about that though.

  • What are you lookin' at?

    I just wanted to chime in and say that this needs to be passed ASAP. It’s criminal that people who may legitimately find relief with cannabis often end up in jail in PA…with rapists and robbers, and other scum. Generations have passed, and we are more informed about the propaganda behind this prohibition. I’d bet that MOST of the public does not see this type of bill as a problem. …and for the record, I AM NOT a “progressive”, nor do I even partake(for the past twenty years anyway).

  • Brian Kelly

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let’s have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    “[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, “Federal Foolishness and Marijuana,” editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    “[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications.” — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    “[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate.” — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    “Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision.” — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

  • Brian Kelly

    “The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses’ Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine.” — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    “[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use.” — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, “Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” 1995

    “When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug.” — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

  • James

    To know if this is a good thing to do, ask the nurses that deal with Cancer Patients, that is all it will take to understand that this is long over due. And that does not even address the other benefits in the medical field.

  • Sharon Blakney

    the number of people who get arrested for stealing prescription pain meds, illegally sell /write prescriptions for pain meds is ,in my opinion, worse than someone taking weed . the next time you go to the doctor, watch how many pharma reps are coming in and out peddling psych and pain meds. it is legal drug pushing and is more than likely the reason for most people who are “drug addicts” to be screwed up long after their condition is healed. marijuana oil is the real cure for some cancers(now it is being studied in colorado)the oil also controls seizure activity and helps those with nerve/muscle issues to be able to function normally and that is why pharma is putting money to our “lawmakers” to have it stopped so they can continue to have the people hooked on their junk chemicals.there are countless video testimonials and articles from people who have used this form of marijuana they aren’t hard to find online. PA is such a backwards place…we have the perfect set up to regulate sales and raise revenue from recreational use- the state store system. we should go beyond just legalizing medical usage.

    • brian

      This is what I have been saying for years. We will gladly hand out pain killers to people to tooth aches and these can easily find their way to the streets and are highly addictive. This bill needs to pass so people can be treated with a drug that is very safe and from what I understand not addictive. We need to take the money away from drug dealers and put the money into legitimate hands.

  • And I don't smoke anything

    “Currently, the medical society thinks, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence but no real concrete evidence right now,” said Dr. Ariane Conaboy, president of The Lackawanna County Medical Society.
    I BELIVE DR. C IS REFERRING TO THE LACKAWANNA COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY, NOT THE MEDICAL SOCIETY OF THE USA.

  • Cristy Harding

    I am disappointed in your coverage of the medical marijuana bill. Dr Conaboy needs more education. It is already established in SB3 that pts should not be driving with a level above 10 nannograms/ml. Most of these pts are already using opiates or benzodiazepines and shouldn’t be driving. Israel has published multiple double blind concrete studies. SB3 states you will need to have a bona fide pt / physician relationship. Pts will not be able to “pretend” they have cancer or epilepsy. And the man that said it can lead to dependency? Does he understand the issues with Vicodin and alcohol ? The addiction rate for marijuana is minimal. Much less than alcohol, opiates or benzodiazepines.
    Its a shame you’re story wasn’t accurate.

  • Frank D

    It’s funny that most drugs created by compies have 20 year studies before being introduced into market. They argue that pot has few studies in the thousands of years it has been around. Organic against synthetic? I have a friend who’s wife is dying of brain cancer at 28. He flew to Denver to buy to oil to help her. She’s in pain and in hospice. Vote yes and help her and others that deserve a peaceful goodbye.

  • Cass

    I personally don’t agree with it. I do see the pros and the cons. Not everyone is going to use this in the positive way though. There is more important issues that is going on in the country then worrying about medical marijuana.

    • Frank D

      Find out that you have terminal brain cancer. At 28, with a 6 year old daughter. Then repost you response on how there is more important issues in your life.

    • And I don't smoke anything

      HEY CASS, every 48 seconds in this country, someone is arrested for marijuana. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA, how much time, wasted money, manpower, that are wasted on this? How about the time spent in lockdown, the food, medical, buildings/prisons, correction officers, court system. All this for marijuana???? WOW. Prohibition does not work. Our taxes pay for all this, we would save on those taxes, and then collect, that’s right collect, taxes from the sale of legal medical marijuana. Think about it.

  • John Peterson

    It should be legal all the way. The tax money that it would generate would be a big help to the economy and the jobs it would create would be a great bonus.

  • Patricia Puorro

    It’s already a proven fact that it’s better for you than all of those high priced drugs with all their side effects..not to mention the taxes this state could use for schools and property tax…although maybe like the gambling money we won’t see that either!! Whatever did happen to that money?

  • nick chorey

    Mr Wolf medical marijuana why not, mother nature sounds better then man made dangerous” Chemicals ” and all the side affects. Theirs a lot of people out their with pills and pills and pills making drug companies $$$$$$$$$!!! when the “Plant” works just fine!

  • The truth you don't want to hear.

    While I do support helping anyone with a medical condition, being a 20-something and working behind a fast food counter doesn’t qualify as a stress induced need. We have seen how easy the cards have been to get for any old excuse. We have also seen how stupid people are without it. High school students are being pushed through with D- just for doing nothing. Isn’t that a big enough problem for this country without adding stoner to that mix? I do see where it could be used as a screening for employment, to get rid of people, but I also see law suits like drunk driving around the corner. Making it legal…..only to smoke in the hospital like going for chemo treatment. If you need it that bad you go in, if you need it to party, go to jail.

    • Tony

      That souds stereotypical to me. I smoke daily, am in my 30’s , have a job of high importance, and make well above the mean for PA. It helps me sleep and helps with anxiety. There are other ways to ingest it without smoking it. Do some simple research before you make blind statements. You have no idea how many well educated people use cannabis ie Dr’s, lawyers, accountants, physical therapist, CEO’s, etc…

      • The truth you don't want to hear.

        I am not making blind statements. I am speaking from experience. I have sent a lot of people home from work because they showed up high and could not do the job without putting themselves or someone else at risk. MANY more from pot than alcohol. At the same time, if hiding a medical marijuana card at time of hire constituted lying on the application about a medical issue that could affect your job, then fine. That makes any easy way to fire deadbeats. What people do at home is their business, but it is no different than driving impaired by alcohol.

  • Neverwillhappen

    I believe pot is just a stepping stone to bigger drugs. What happens when the pot stops working? Heroin? LCD ? Mushrooms? There will be no big tax base as those who need it aren’t the ones working! If you are working in most job settings whether the pot is prescribed or not is still illegal to be under the influence. Most work places have a zero drug policy. If your caught driving a motor vehicle under the influence of pot it’s treated just as if your drinking. The most legalizing pot could do is make for more DUI arrest thus more fines and revenue and p.s as an officer you will be arrested wether it’s prescribed to you legally or not as you are not allowed to drive under the influence. You had better believe no employer is allowing you to operate machinery while under the influence of pot not just for their liability but those of the co workers like myself if I was injured from an accident caused by a pot head I’d have the old 1-800-win win 1 on speed dial and own the company and everything the pot head owns. But why ramble when the bill will never make it before the wolf

    • Dumb Politicians

      Why do people think it is worse then alcohol??? You talk so smart but come off so dumb. NAIVE i suppose. In 2013, of the 43,982 drug overdose deaths in the United States, 22,767 (51.8%) were related to pharmaceuticals. MORE then half due to PRESCRIPTION DRUGS LEGALLY PRESCRIBED. 0 DEATHS DUE TO MARIJUANA OVERDOSAGE!! For the simple-minded whose every rebuttable is “all we need is more pot-heads” and “Stoners are good for nothing” TYPE Phrases. EDUCATE YOURSELF!! THE ONLY REASON OUR GOVERNMENT HAS NOT LEGALIZED THUS FAR IS IT CAN BE GROWN ANYWHERE BY ANYBODY!! THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES MAKE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OFF OF THERE PRODUCTS BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO BE “MADE” IN FACTORIES!!! ALSO In the United States, prescription opioid abuse costs were about $55.7 billion in 2007.7 Of this amount, 46% was attributable to workplace costs (e.g., lost productivity), 45% to healthcare costs (e.g., abuse treatment), and 9% to criminal justice costs. KEEP BELEIVEING WHAT THEY FORCE FEED YOU

      • Ingrid Smith

        Do you know what Topamax is? A seizure medication they give to migraine patients. Do you know what it did to me? Legal, insurance filled it, I was out of control. Sat there in a stopper. Forgot general things. It had me in such a state my HUSBAND called my neurologist to have me taken off of it. I was like a dumb vegetable!!! You should see my bedside table. Neurontin, 3 different muscle relaxers, welbutrin, Valium, ambien, etc… To treat migraines, PTSD which caused Fibromyalgia which caused insomnia, depression, anxiety. All that can be treated by medicinal pot. Made into oil, used to rub on sore muscles, or taken by mouth. No high, no paranoia, just a free nightstand of vitamins & occasionally prednizone for bad attacks. Its not just for smoking. People need to learn there are better & more responsible ways besides firing up a joint or making pot brownies. I just want the cannabanoids. Not the THC!!

    • LEGALIZE IT, TAX IT, CONTROL IT, SAME AS ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO

      HEY, NEVER WILL HAPPEN. YOU ARE RIGHT ON POINT, SAME AS THIS WOMAN IS, YOU GUYS SHOULD MEET UP, AND DISCUSS ;–((…….“I think it`s going to make a lot of people, make it a lot easier to get to, because a lot of people could also go in there and just pretend they`re sick for medical reasons just to get the marijuana. So, I think it`s a bad idea,” said Marilyn Portis of Carbondale….. OH, AND YOU ARE ALSO SO FAR AND OUT OF TOUCH FROM REALITY, YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT “LCD”…………LIGHTS???

  • Dumb Politicians

    it is way OVERDUE!!! nobody gets addicted to pot so theres nobody breaking into homes, robbery, or theft, to suppport a habit. It is PROVEN to be less harmful than alcohol. The only reason it is not socially accepted is the people who are uninformed and think it is this horrible drug and the older generations who were accustomed to marijuana propaganda adds AND the SIMPLE-MINDED… The amount of revenue it can bring to our state can be a game changer for our education systems, economy, and generally everything. WIN WIN WITH THE LEGALIZATION

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