PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — At a press conference announcing a task force to tackle the heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett could not have been clearer about his view of marijuana.

“In many of the cases I handled as a prosecutor, marijuana was the first drug. As a youth, it was the first drug. It was the gateway drug,” insisted Corbett in response to questions from KDKA political editor Jon Delano.

Some 21 states have legalized medical marijuana, and the Quinnipiac poll found 85 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalizing doctor-prescribed cannabis for medical purposes.

But Corbett is reluctant, citing experience in California.

“California is one of them where they went to medical marijuana issue. It’s gone well beyond that in the actual use. If you want to talk about abuse of the prescribing, I think California is indicative of that. That’s my personal opinion,” added Corbett.

The governor says he is sympathetic to families who believe medical cannabis can help loved ones, especially children with seizures.

“Obviously, these are very heart-wrenching stories,” he said.

But Corbett says the evidence is not yet convincing.

“There is no scientific evidence yet that this has been demonstrated to work. It’s been mostly anecdotal, people saying that it works. And we have to be very careful when it comes to this.”

So, Gov. Corbett is recommending a pilot project at several hospitals for children, including Pittsburgh, to test whether the extracted oil from marijuana can really alleviate seizures.

“I know for some on the other side of the issue they think it is a baby step. From their perspective, it may well be. For me and my position, it’s a gigantic step, but it is a step to see what we can do to help.”

Gov. Corbett Backs Marijuana Extract To Treat Children (5/1/14)
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