State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Folmer blasts Corbett & GOP leaders for "hypocrisy" on vice legislation

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 8, 2014 2:40 PM
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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The leading Republican proponent for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania says his party leadership has exhibited "the high mark of hypocrisy" for discussing liquor privatization while halting the progress of his own bill.

"We have leadership discussing and talking about expanding alcohol sales, which is the number one drug addiction problem we have in this commonwealth and in this nation," said Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) on the Senate floor Monday. He's been collecting support for a bill to legalize an oil extract from the marijuana plant that supporters say treats severe epilepsy and other illnesses.

Folmer aimed a good bit of his criticism at the Corbett administration. Department of Drugs and Alcohol Programs Secretary Gary Tennis has called medical marijuana a "Trojan horse" leading to legalization of recreational marijuana in other states. Gov. Corbett and some Senate Republicans have voiced discomfort forging ahead with medical marijuana without federal research to show its effectiveness. But during his Monday speech, Folmer tied the push for liquor privatization to Gov. Corbett, who has said it remains a top legislative priority.

"He's one of the prime advocates to have alcohol expansion throughout the commonwealth," Folmer said. "Which is far worse, I believe, than what I'm trying to achieve."

A recent comment by Corbett appeared to send Folmer over the edge. PennLive quoted the governor saying he wouldn't support medical marijuana, even in the event that his young grandson had a disease that could be treated by it.

Folmer vented his frustrations at the end of the Senate session Monday, when members are invited to voice any "petitions and remonstrances," or Ps and Rs.

"Oh, I'm going to do Ps and Rs on this until I'm blue in the face," Folmer said.

Edit 4:31 p.m. 4/8/14: Folmer returned to the Senate floor for another remonstrance on Tuesday, the second day of his campaign to hammer his colleagues and, more specifically, the governor, on the subject of medical cannabis. "I don't want to sound like a broken record," Folmer said, repeating his oft-cited comparison of medical cannabis to another arrow in one's quiver. "I'm just asking that the governor understands that."

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