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Letters to the Editor

Time for medical cannabis

| Friday, April 10, 2015, 8:57 p.m.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows a staggering 88 percent of Pennsylvanians indicated clear support for a medicinal cannabis program.

State Sens. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) have reintroduced medical cannabis legislation for people to obtain licenses to grow, process and dispense medicinal cannabis. Patients with a qualifying condition would be able to obtain a medicinal cannabis card upon the recommendation of their physician, provided they are suffering from one of the approved conditions set forth in the bill.

With this level of public support, one would assume medicinal cannabis would pass the Senate and House easily. A prior version of the bill passed the Senate in a 43-7 vote last year.

So why the delay?

Medical marijuana is available in 23 states. Veterans Affairs permits cannabis use in states that have medicinal programs.

Hundreds of controlled clinical studies of the medical efficacy of cannabis have demonstrated its incredible potential in controlling diabetes, relieving chronic pain and the side effects of chemotherapy and treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

The urgency is real for chronic pain sufferers, some of whom develop addictions to heroin and other opioids. There's a new study showing states with medicinal cannabis programs have 25 percent fewer prescription opioid deaths.

Every day, Pennsylvanians suffer while millions of Americans have access to medical marijuana. Sick Pennsylvanians cannot wait another day.

Patrick K. Nightingale

Pittsburgh

The author is the executive director of the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

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