HARRISBURG – Two state senators, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, said Monday they plan to introduce a bill to legalize a certain form of marijuana for medicinal use in Pennsylvania in an effort to help children who suffer seizures and potentially many others, including patients suffering through chemotherapy.
Sens. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, and Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, said their bill would help ensure Pennsylvanians can get medical benefits from cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound found in marijuana that is credited with various medical applications without providing a high.
It is the first time that a medical marijuana bill has been drafted with bipartisan support in the Senate, Leach said.
Under the bill, Pennsylvania doctors would be limited to prescribing medicine derived from marijuana that has a higher amount of CBD than marijuana’s psychoactive chemical, known as THC, Leach said.
It would not be addictive or psychoactive, and could be used in place of pharmaceuticals that are toxic, addictive or riddled with side effects, Leach said.
“There is no rational reason not to support giving a child this medication,” Leach told a Capitol news conference packed with supporters of legalizing medical marijuana.
It can be delivered by dropper for children and pill form for adults.
Two Pennsylvania mothers of children with epilepsy, including one boy who has a rare and sometimes deadly form called Dravet syndrome, appeared with Leach and said they believe it can control their children’s debilitating seizures.
“My plea today to the government is to leave the doctoring to the doctors,” said Dana Ulrich of Reinholds. She said her daughter Lorelei, 6, suffers some 400 seizures a day.
Leach also has sponsored a bill that would legalize marijuana for personal consumption. He said the bill he is introducing with Folmer would not allow the full range of uses of medical marijuana that are allowed in other states, but is the broadest concept so far for which he could get bipartisan support.
“We are trying to accomplish the achievable,” Leach said.
Folmer, a Republican, did not attend the news conference due to the death of his mother. In a statement, he said “medical cannabis” could provide help to children who suffer from seizures and cancer patients suffering through chemotherapy.