Bill in State House Would Make Marijuana Legal 

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  Bill in State House Would Make Marijuana Legal 

Posted by CN Staff on May 04, 2009 at 04:43:05 PT
By Kent Jackson, Staff Writer 
Source: Citizens' Voice 

Pennsylvania -- Bill Waschko reached to the shelf of vintage medicine bottles at his family’s century-old drug store in Hazleton and pulled down one labeled “Cannabis.”The powdered extract of marijuana was bottled by Eli Lilly and Co., but although the bottle is empty and the label has no date, marijuana was a legal drug around the country until 1937.
A bill in the state House of Representatives would make marijuana legal again for medical uses, emulating action already taken in 13 states and also proposed in New York and New Jersey.The Pennsylvania bill, sponsored by Reps. Phyllis Mundy, D-Kingston, and Mark Cohen, D-Philadelphia, would set up compassion centers for growing and distributing marijuana to patients who had registered identification cards. Physicians would give written statements to patients whom they believe would benefit medically from using marijuana, but they would not write prescriptions, which could subject them to federal prosecution.“They would have a (marijuana) clinic like a methadone clinic,” suggested George Waschko, Bill’s brother and the pharmacist at Waschko’s Pharmacy.George Waschko said the possible medical uses of marijuana include treating glaucoma and nausea caused by chemotherapy given to cancer patients.The bill also lists marijuana as a treatment for wasting due to AIDS and for chronic pain, seizures and Crohn’s disease.Tom Dougherty, a pharmacist at Valley Pharmacy in Sugarloaf, remembers marijuana was in the dispensary at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia while he was a student.“It sat there. We had to count it every month. We never used it,” Dougherty said.Dougherty wonders whether there is a great medical need for marijuana or whether it would be “an orphan drug where you have six patients who need it in Pennsylvania.”The Medical Board of California, which in 1996 became the first state to re-legalize marijuana, issued a statement in 2004 calling medical marijuana an emerging treatment.Ed Pane, director of Serento Gardens Alcoholism and Drug Services in Hazleton, supports the use of marijuana for medical purposes only and said numerous patients might benefit from it.He said marijuana can reduce vomiting in chemotherapy patients, and treat migraines and the spasms of multiple sclerosis, “which can be extremely painful.”Three hundred thousand Americans have multiple sclerosis, and 1.25 million people are diagnosed yearly with cancer, Pane wrote in a paper this fall for a class he is taking while earning a master’s degree.Marijuana “helps individuals to put on weight and handle food and cuts down on the need for pain medication by enhancing what the person is taking. It doesn’t make the medication stronger to the point of overdose, but makes it more effective,” Pane said in an interview Friday.While 32,000 people die yearly from prescription medicines, including overdoses and allergic reactions, no one ever has died from an overdose of marijuana, he said.States can make money by taxing medical marijuana and save the expenses of prosecuting patients who use marijuana, but Pane still wants Pennsylvania to prohibit abuse of the drug.“Street dealing under any guise needs to be illegal,” he said. “From my standpoint, it breaks my heart when I see kids using it. They’re not going to grow up emotionally. It becomes a means of handling problems.”Source: Citizens' Voice, The (Wilkes-Barre, PA)Author: Kent Jackson, Staff WriterPublished: Monday, May 4, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Citizens' VoiceContact: yourvoice citizensvoice.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on May 04, 2009 at 19:39:41 PT
S.D.: Petition Drive Started for Medical Marijuana
May 4, 2009URL:
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