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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Legislative District, the State Capitol, and the progress of my legislative priorities. If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to visit my website at to learn more about issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of May 18, 2015

Senate Bill 3, Medical Cannabis: Passes Senate, Goes to House
The Senate passed my Senate Bill 3 to allow for the use of medical cannabis in the Commonwealth: 40-7. This would allow suffering Pennsylvanians the opportunity to utilize cannabis, a natural plant from God, to treat their ailments.

Senate Bill 3 provides access to regulated medical cannabis for patients with certain qualified medical conditions and establishes the State Board of Medical Cannabis Licensing under the Department of State to provide regulatory oversight and licensing. The bill was unanimously reported from the Senate State Government Committee on April 21 with a comprehensive amendment, including: adding a “real time” registry to track the validity of medical cannabis cards and the growth, production and distribution; eliminating production of edible cannabis products – although patients would be allowed to mix prescribed medical cannabis into their foods; adding nebulization as a delivery method; and expanding the list of covered diseases to include HIV/AIDS and glaucoma.

Many worked hard on this bill to help the broadest group without further delay. I am so thankful for the additional changes advocated to expand the bill even further to help Pennsylvania’s suffering patients.

The amendments approved by the full Senate and are now included in Senate Bill 3 are:

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

The support of so many in the Senate and the many, many advocates has been overwhelming and I cannot thank everyone enough. I believe in its present form Senate Bill 3 represents a balance between the advocates who want greater access to medical cannabis and those who continue to have concerns. Hopefully we have established a solid foundation for consideration and deliberation in the House.

My remarks on the Senate Floor can be watched here.

"Mommabears" Lolly and Dana requested a meeting with me to discuss medical cannabis legislation to help their daughter's seizures. The meeting took place on October 23, 2013 – and this is when my medical cannabis journey began. Here we are pictured, May 12, 2015 after the Pennsylvania Senate’s final passage of Senate Bill 3.

Bills Pass Senate, Go to House
All bills passed unanimously unless otherwise noted.
Senate Bill 1 – (28-19) pension reform legislation;
Senate Bill 3 – (40-7) my bill to allow the use of medical cannabis in the Commonwealth;
Senate Bill 264 – bans the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins in Pennsylvania;
Senate Bill 284 and Senate Bill 285 – authorizes an “Honoring Our Veterans” license plate for motorcycles;
Senate Bill 514 – (39-8) allows for biosimilar substitutions under the Generic Equivalent Drug Law;
Senate Bill 678 – clarifies the arrest powers and jurisdiction of state-owned university campus police officers.

Executive Nominations Confirmed by Senate
Adjutant General of Pennsylvania: James Joseph of Hazleton
Secretary of Community and Economic Development: Dennis Davin of Pittsburgh
Secretary of General Services: Curtis Topper of Lancaster
Secretary of Transportation: Leslie Richards of Lafayette Hill
Secretary of Aging: Teresa Osborne of Scranton
Secretary of Agriculture: Russell Redding of Aspers
Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs: Garold Tennis of Harrisburg
Secretary of Health: Karen Murphy of Clarks Summit
Secretary of Labor and Industry: Kathy Manderino of Philadelphia

Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees Joint Hearing
On May 13, the Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees held a joint public hearing to discuss Senator Judy Schwank’s and my Senate Bill 50 and Representative Russ Diamond’s House Bill 967, both to permit the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp in Pennsylvania. You can watch the hearing here.

17th Annual Tom Buskey Student Achievement Awards
I was honored to have Pennsylvania Senate citations prepared for constituents of the 48th Senate District who were presented with the 17th Annual Tom Buskey Student Achievement Award on May 14. The award, sponsored by the Capital Area Regional Transition Council, is given to graduating seniors from participating high schools in the Capital Region who have succeeded at “beating the odds” and successfully overcoming personal challenges. Congratulations to David Fetrow, Cedar Cliff High School; Randi Ishman, Red Land High School, and; Jocelyn Nava, Steelton-Highspire High School.

Mission of Mercy in Pennsylvania Dental Outreach Event
On May 29 and 30 there will be a free dental clinic for children and adults at the Farm Show Complex (North Hall entrance) with a host of dentists, hygienists, dental students and volunteers. This is the third annual Mission of Mercy in Pennsylvania (MOM-n-PA) dental outreach event.

With more than 100 fully equipped dental units, volunteers hope to provide services to more than 2,000 patients during the clinic. X-rays, dental fillings, extractions, root-canal treatments and cleanings will be provided. There are no eligibility requirements and no pre-registration. Doors open at 6:00 a.m. on May 29. Children 12 and under should come on Saturday. For more information, visit

Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.

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.

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