Some midstate congressmen open to medical marijuana

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Mar 19, 2014 12:31 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Republican Congressman Scott Perry has grabbed some attention for his support to legalize oil that comes from marijuana plants, but most midstate congressmen haven't offered an opinion on the issue.


Of the nine congressmen in the midstate's congressional delegation contacted multiple times for this story, four responded.

GOP Representatives Jim Gerlach, Lou Barletta and Charlie Dent all indicate they're open to strict medicinal use of marijuana, but say they want to see more medical research on the topic.

However, it can be difficult to do research on the drug because it's currently classified as a Schedule One substance, alongside drugs like heroin and LSD.

"This is an oil that's ingested, doesn't have any THC. I know I feel differently about it," says Congressman Scott Perry, who represents parts of Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, and York counties.

Advocates say the oil does have THC, but in very small quantities.

The oil is meant to help address epileptic seizures, among other medical issues.

"Course I have two children of my own, I pictured myself in that circumstance, and I thought well, 'If I were one of them , I would want it changed as well,'" says Perry.

But Perry acknowledges his bill, currently being written, would have to address the federal ban on growing marijuana.

Recently, both Utah and Kentucky moved towards legalizing the oil that Perry's proposal would legalize at the federal level.

The responses from midstate congressmen are below: 

Congressman Dent: “I am willing to keep an open-mind on the use of marijuana strictly to treat identified illnesses - but I want to hear definitively from the medical community about the efficacy of such treatments and the associated risks.”

Congressman Gerlach: "If Congress wants to consider legalizing a plant that can be harvested to produce regulated, safe and effective medical treatments backed by sound science and prescribed by a doctor, I’d be willing to keep an open mind and listen to what medical researchers have to say. But I’ll reserve final judgment until a bill comes to the House floor for a vote.”

Congressman Barletta: "Having been a mayor and seen the problems associated with illegal drugs of all kinds, Congressman Barletta does not support legalization.  However, he is open to certain strictly medicinal uses, such as liquid forms of cannabis.  He would like to learn more from the medical community about uses, benefits and controls involved.  If people can be helped safely, it ought to be an option."

Congressman Meehan: No response.

Congressman Cartwright: No response.

Congressman Pitts: No response.

Congressman Shuster: No response. 

Congressman Marino: No response.

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Comments: 1

  • Brian Kelly B Bizzle img 2014-03-19 12:03

    When a loved one is in pain, wasting away unable to eat, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let's have the compassion to allow them to have it.

    Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

    Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

    Support Medical Marijuana Now!

    "[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

    "[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications." — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

    "[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate." — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

    "Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision." — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

    "The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses' Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine." — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

    "[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use." — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," 1995

    "When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug." — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

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