Week of April 27, 2015
Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
Lack of Transparency with PA Department of Human Services
My staff twice requested this same list and I twice requested it (all via e-mail). Sadly, DHS never even acknowledged our request. On Monday, I filed a Right-to-Know request to obtain this information previously released to the SEIU. So much for openness and transparency.
Taxpayer Protection Act and Amendment
The “Taxpayer Protection Act” would also require:
Senate State Government Committee
Update: Medical Cannabis (Column for Publication)
Some children have hundreds of seizures a day, making normal childhood development impossible and forcing parents to helplessly watch their children suffer. Medical cannabis is a much safer and more effective solution than the current prescribed narcotic cocktails of highly addictive and dangerous drugs that offer very little relief.
Fortunately, after months of work, last Session’s Senate Bill 1182 overwhelmingly passed the Senate, 43–7. However, there wasn’t enough time for it to be considered by the House and I reintroduced the measure passed last year by the Senate as this year’s Senate Bill 3.
Since reintroduction, I’ve been working hard to refine SB 3 through numerous discussions, changes and compromises. Some wanted to see SB 3 expanded while others had concerns and asked for more restrictions.
The Senate State Government Committee, which I chair, held a public hearing and heard from both advocates and opponents of medical cannabis. As a result of that hearing and subsequent discussions, we’ve learned more about a number of issues.
For example, some thought the definition of “health care practitioner” was too broad. Others noted edible cannabis products have created problems in other states. Both parents and many experts agreed the best delivery method for medical cannabis for certain diseases is vaporization – especially children with seizures and veterans with PTSD.
Looking at other states, we learned most allowing medical cannabis include HIV/AIDS and glaucoma on the list of covered diseases. Also, technology exists to provide for immediate and 24-hour tracking of products like cannabis.
To address these issues, we drafted a comprehensive amendment, which was unanimously approved on April 21 by the Senate State Government Committee when it reported SB 3 to the full Senate for consideration.
This amendment makes a number of important changes, including the addition of a “real time” registry to track the validity of medical cannabis cards and the growth, production and distribution of medical cannabis.
The amendment also eliminated the production of edible cannabis products – although patients would be allowed to mix prescribed medical cannabis into their foods, such as herbal teas and mashed potatoes. The SB 3 amendment slightly expands the list of covered diseases to include HIV/AIDS and glaucoma. It also adds nebulization as a delivery method.
While these changes are important and hopefully address the larger concerns with bringing medical cannabis to Pennsylvania, I would like to see additional modifications to SB 3. In particular, I would like the list of diseases and conditions expanded – especially to include diabetes, neuralgia and possibly pain management. I would also like to see vaporization included as I do not believe nebulization is the best delivery method for some diseases – vaporization is much better.
However, more importantly is we’re advancing the debate on medical cannabis. Hopefully, SB 3 will again be passed by the full Senate and sent to the House for broader deliberation and further action.
In the interim, I want to thank all of those who have been involved in the medical cannabis debate – supporters and opponents alike. I’m thankful for the support we’ve received and grateful for all the hard work that has gone into this important initiative to date. I remain committed to addressing the lingering fears that exist.
While we’ve come far and still have far to go, my goal remains the same: give patients the best options possible in battling their diseases and conditions.
When contacting my office by e-mail, mail, or telephone, please be sure to share your e-mail, telephone number, and address so that we can follow up with you in a timely manner. Many inquiries can be handled with a phone call or email.
Was this message forwarded to you? Visit my website if you would like to receive your own copy of "Mike's Memo."
If you no longer wish to receive "Mike's Memo," please click
here to unsubscribe.
101 Municipal Building