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State Senate Republicans at odds over legalizing medical marijuana

Updated: Thursday, February 20 2014, 05:55 AM CST
Reported by: James Tully

HARRISBURG -- As Republican State Sen. Mike Folmer continues to lobby for the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania fellow republican Sen. Pat Vance isn't not ready to give it her full support.

Folmer's legislature is believed to be the first medical marijuana bill with bipartisan support. Senate Bill 1182 calls for the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania and it's drafted by one of the most conservative members in the state legislature.

"I started to look at the research and I realized that I was wrong and we were demonizing a plant that God put on this earth for us to use the benefits from," Folmer told me during an interview last month.

It's also a plant that the federal government considers a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it's deemed to have a high potential for abuse and has no current accepted medical uses.

That is a subject that local parents of epileptic children are refuting strongly after a Colorado girl became 99 percent seizure-free after taking the form of medical marijuana. Those children's situations swayed Folmer.

"You would be without a drop of blood in your body if you didn't want to help these kids," Vance says.

Vance has read Folmer's bill and does not agree with all of it. She still wants the federal government to approve medical marijuana, not turn a blind eye to Folmer's bill.

"The will is lacking to do this testing and I fervently wish they would do the testing," Vance says. Dr. William Trescher, a neurologist at Hershey Medical, tells me he believes marijuana has the potential to have medical benefits.

He points out studies on animals have shown use of the drug to decrease epileptic symptoms, but it's never been tested on human subjects.State Senate Republicans at odds over legalizing medical marijuana


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