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For the First Time Ever, Pennsylvania Debates Medical Marijuana

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Today is a historic day at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg — as lawmakers are debating, for the first time ever in the Keystone State, the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

Kudos goes out to Philly NORML and their allies for working directly with Democrat Rep. Mark Cohen to introduce House Bill 1393, The Barry Busch Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act of 2009and make today’s hearings a reality.


Pennsylvania lawmakers will talk about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes
The Patriot-News

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today will hold its first-ever hearing on a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

The House Health and Human Services Committee will hold a public
hearing at 11 a.m. in Room 140 of the Main Capitol in Harrisburg on a
bill from state Rep. Mark B. Cohen, D-Phila., H.B. 1393, which would
permit the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

The time has come for Pennsylvania to join 13 other states
that allow patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV or other
physically painful diseases to use medical marijuana
,” Cohen
said in a press release. “It is important the committee and the public
hear the powerful stories from these patients about the beneficial use
of medical marijuana in treating pain and other symptoms of
debilitating medical conditions.”


Web streaming of today’s daylong hearing is available here.

Testifying in favor of the bill: Chris Goldstein and Derek Rosenzweig of PA4MMJ
and Philly NORML; Ed Pane of Serento Gardens Treatment Center; Bradley
Walter who lives with HIV; Andrew Hoover of the ACLU-PA, Criminal
Defense Attorney Patrick Nightengale; MS patient John Wilson of New
Jersey; Brian Gralnick of JSPAN; Bob Ceppecio of The Marijuana Policy
Project along with other local patients and professionals. Signed
written testimony from 26 PA residents will be presented by PA4MMJ and
Philly NORML along with 19 written submissions sent anonymously. Expert
written submissions and comments came from the AIDS Law Project of
Pennsylvania, the National Lawyers Guild Philadelphia Chapter, The
Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey and the National Organization for the reform of Marijuana Laws Deputy Director Paul Armentano.

You can read my written testimony here.

If you live in Pennsylvania and have not yet contacted your state officials in support of HB 1393, please do so here.


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