PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Supporters of a bill to pass medical marijuana in Pennsylvania on Thursday said they’re cautiously optimistic after Gov. Tom Corbett changed his position on the issue.
He is now backing the legalization of a marijuana extract to treat severe seizures in children.
Gov. Corbett’s spokesman says the plan would allow cannabidiol, or CBD, to be dispensed by research-based hospitals.
“People need to understand that this isn’t for the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania; this is to set up two clinical trials,” Heather Shucker, whose daughter suffers from 100 seizures a week, said.
Supporters say while Thursday’s news is encouraging, it’s the bare minimum of what’s really needed.
Parents like Danielle McGurk, who has two daughters with Dravet Syndrome, say the oil needs to be combined with a small amount of THC to help with withdrawals from extremely potent and addictive anti-seizure meds her daughters are on now.
“They will not get high,” McGurk said. “The medications they are on right now is doing a lot more damage.”
State Sen. Matt Smith, who represents the 37th District in Western Pennsylvania, says he’s heard the families pleas and if the issue of legalizing medical marijuana comes up for a vote, he’d support it.
“They’ve carved out a very specific use for it in the medical context, and when you hear their testimony, it is very moving and very powerful,” Sen. Smith said.
The Executive Director for Pittsburgh NORML, Patrick Nightingale, also talked to NewsRadio 1020 KDKA’s Mike Pintek about Corbett’s decision to support medical marijuana for children.
He feels that this is a step in the right direction but there are far more people who can also benefit from this medicine.
Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach has always supported the use of medical marijuana. He was the one who threatened the Governor to stage a sit-in if he did not meet with the families of children who would benefit from this medicine.