HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – A few hundred people who want the state to change its marijuana laws are taking their campaign to the Pennsylvania Capitol.
Speakers at the Keystone Cannabis Reform Rally on Monday urged the use of the drug for medical purposes, the production of industrial hemp and the decriminalization of recreational marijuana.
A bill pending in a state Senate committee would permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Among those rallying was Heather Shuker of Valencia, whose 11-year old daughter Hannah has an extreme form of epilepsy with multiple seizures every day.
“To see her suffer every day is pretty hard to deal with,” says Shuker.
Speakers at the Keystone Cannabis Reform rally called for quick state passage of Senate Bill 1182. They included military veteran Joe Mirt of Carrick who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“Very painful and hard to manage,” says Mirt. “And I have found through cannabis I have relief.”
Medical marijuana is now legal in 20 states and Washington, DC.
Shucker told KDKA political editor Jon Delano by phone from Harrisburg that it does not produce any kind of high like smoking weed may do.
“Strictly medicinal. Yes, absolutely. Hannah will not get high from this. It really should be classified as an herb.”
But, so far, the General Assembly has not yet acted.
Supporters blame Governor Corbett.
“The governor himself says he will in fact veto the bill,” notes Shucker.
But that will not stop supporters from pushing legislators to legalize medical marijuana which many like Shucker see as a matter of life and death for her daughter.
“Without this oil, she may not see another year.”.
“There’s a great showing of people here, people with a lot of stories that are very heart-breaking,” adds Wirt. “It’s easy to get passionate about this issue because it’s just wrong.”
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