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Pa. senator: Colo. trip included using marijuana

Associated Press

Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, speaks at a news conference in the Capitol with parents who say their seizure-wracked children might benefit from oil extracted from marijuana, on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 in Harrisburg. Leach is a prime sponsor of legislation to legalize medical marijuana. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)
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HARRISBURG – A Pennsylvania state senator said Friday he used marijuana during a recent taxpayer-funded trip to Colorado to observe the state’s legal marijuana industry in action.


Sen. Daylin Leach, a leading proponent of legalized marijuana in the Legislature, said he took two hits from a vape pen, similar to an e-cigarette, at his hotel. The device vaporizes a form of marijuana and is smokeless. Leach said it was a gift from a facility he and aides toured during the trip, which cost nearly $5,000.


Leach, D-Montgomery, said on his last night in Colorado, he wanted to use the drug for the first time in about 25 years because people told him potency is greater than it used to be.


“I did two hits, which was less than I would have done when I was in high school,” Leach said. “I definitely felt the effects of it.”


He said the legal weed caused him to giggle a bit through dinner, and afterward, in his hotel room, he did something uncharacteristic – he watched a romantic comedy on television.


Leach toured growing facilities, laboratories and retail dispensaries. He said the vape pen came in a gift bag along with a pair of sunglasses and two lanyards.


A bill co-sponsored by Leach that would allow medical marijuana passed a state Senate committee with a unanimous vote in late June.


It would permit marijuana to be grown, processed and dispensed, with oversight by a Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing. Patients would need a $100 access card and would have to establish a patient-physician relationship, as well as written confirmation of a qualifying medical condition.


Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican former prosecutor, said his support for legalized marijuana extends only to the use of an extract to treat severe seizures in children.