Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – A House committee considering a bill entitled the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act. Thus did the Pennsylvania legislature dip its toe into the roiling waters of the legalization debate for the first time yesterday.


The sponsor, Rep Marc Cohen (D. Phila.), said he hoped the testimony would “alter the outdated view of what should be another treatment option for many Pennsylvanians living in pain and discomfort.”

This bill is modelled on medical marijuana laws in other states, and would create a registry of patients who could buy marijuana for medicinal purposes;  they would require doctors’ supervision and authorization.  State-licensed “compassion centers” would be able to grow and sell marijuana.

“The time has come,” Cohen said, “for Pennsylvania to join 13 states that allow patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV, or other physically painful diseases to treat their symptoms and alleviate their suffering with this proven health-care option.”

Remarkably, Cohen has only six cosponsors out of 203 members in the House. In the Senate, the majority Republican caucus has no plans to take up the issue even if the House bill passes, caucus spokesman, Eric Arneson, said.

The hearing was yesterday before the Health and Human Services Committee which came at a time when many states have considered or enacted legalization laws. The Obama administration has halted raids on medical-marijuana dispensaries, which is a marked shift from President George W Bush’s drug policy. Attorney General Eric H Holder Jr  has said his prosecutors will not go after people who comply with state medical marijuana laws.

Back to Medical Marijuana state laws


Join the discussion 36 Comments

  • Dave says:

    I am 33 in a month I have anxiety, depression, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, had 1 nephrectomy already, waiting on the 2nd, uni-lateral trans-tibial amputation, phantom limb pain, residual limb pain, neuropathy, gastroporesis, nausea, nephrotic syndrome, back problems. I am currently on very high levels of opiated both morphine AND dilaudid it helps but it causes major nausea and stomach problems which makes my gastroporesis ( paralyzed stomach muscles due to diabetes) worse. I have never touch any marijuana never been “high” but I have had doctors tell me It could help me. That was years ago before I was this severe. I’d just want a chance to live as normal and as pain free a life as I can for me and my fiancé.

  • FreeTheWeed says:

    I am a above the knee double amputee. from a pus pocket in my lungs that broke and basically gave me flesh eating disease 3 yrs ago. phantom pains, depression, etc. ill have pain the rest of my life. im a former opiate addict which i go to methadone treatment. mj is about the only thing that kills my pain to relax/sleep. now they say not till 2014 wth Pa ppl are suffering like any other ppl in the states, just aint right/fair. “Keep Growing”

  • justin says:

    I am a 25 year old Pennsylvanian boy. I have been diagnosed with
    epilepsy for fifteen years. I graduated high school in 2005 and went to
    college for a year for culinary arts. After college they discontinued
    my hmo and i live alone with a limited income through the year. I cant
    afford my meds nor can i get samples because i dont have enough for a
    hospital visit. If you could really consider this not as an excuse but
    a reason for me to hang on(its very difficult) to look past any
    irrational reason and go with the one practical reason. People asked
    why Thomas Edison kept trying to invent a lightbulb and they said he
    would never get it, but all he said is I just figured out a 1000 ways
    how not to make a lightbulb, i just need one to make it happen.

  • Mrblue says:

    I want to know where I can get marijuana in Philadelphia. I have meneries disease and a disabled veteran. contact me, Mrbluesays@yahoo. Thanks

  • I suffer from Pain caused by nerve damage,Migraines,Occipitol neralgia,lower back pain. MJ is the only thing that helps all of my symptoms without upset stomach and nausia. Pennsylvania needs to pass this law!

  • AL says:

    I have not smoked in 30 years but now I am old and in pain with many medical problems. I wish be fore I DIE THAT i can smoke a little so I can be pain free and laugh at a suckass life the U.S. has givin me with all the Fu## taxes I have My meds or food?? thats how I live in this GREAT country USA???? I should have moved to Canada during the Viet Nam war when I was drafted when I was still in High school. GOD BLESS America and all the Rich Bastards

    • Andrew Miller says:

      Fellow chronic pain sufferer and military family, I feel your pain. God grew plants and herbs for us to use to heal, even Saint Luke was a medical physician and understood this, while opioids help, I am sick of taking pills because of withdraw, just for the time you need relief, they just don’t get it. Would be wonderfull if the state of PA would sign a compassionate marijuanna use act, Bill, law, whatever, I was a strong healthy man till my appendix exploded 15 years ago, was misdiagnosed, left to die ( really) laying on a table in hospital hallway, woke days later having expired 4 times while on op table, paratinitis, sepsis nerve damage, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, then last year as I’m trying to work, fell in a unmarked ditch 7 feet, broke my back and damaged 4 disks, head injuries, etc. SO I GET IT. If there is anyone out there who cares, write our congress, or anyone else who’ll listen, we need this in PA
      Popp’s in pain.

  • Mkel says:

    Why can’t I, a free-standing individual, light a natural plant on fire and inhale the fumes that it creates. When you think about, no one should be punished for this natural, harmless act, whether it be for medicinal or recreational purposes. LEGALIZE WEED! RON PAUL 2012!

    • kelly says:

      i love you ! ron paul 2012 legalize our freedom !!!!!!

    • Tl.Vazquez says:

      Couldn’t said it better myself! ..I’m gonna smoke if it keeps me out pain, and always feeling like I’m gonna up chuck!

    • JP says:

      You CAN! get seeds online for $40 (TONS of reputable places – NirvanaShop, SingleSeeds, etc) and either get a simple grow tent for a hundred bux some fans lights and BOOM; with the right feeding schedule and nutrients, you’ll be good to go in 4-5 months…. Make it easy on yourself too, get some Short Ryder Auto Flower seeds and there is basically nothing more than feeding that you need to do… they are short, and flower automatically without needing to change light cycle. As long as you don’t open your mouth and keep in inside your home and PRIVATE, no one will bother you…

    • metalbuoy says:

      You are good enough to pay taxes and get obliterated on jaegermeister in Pennsylvania and have a fag wedding but not smoke a joint. Leave Pennsylvania and come west young man!!

  • SBuck says:

    I have been suffering from Epilepsy since I was 5. After a grand-mal seizure, I have chewed one side of my tongue, have multiple black and blues from collapsing, and suffer migraines for days. I have the seizures typically twice a month, but the recovery is about a week or two. Stress is my trigger. Marijuana has always helped me in college and that was when I was the “healthiest”! Calms me and helps with the pain after an episode. Really wish PA would get on the bandwagon!

  • Brenda says:

    As of this time I have Diabetes type2, Diabetic Gastroparesis (frozen stomach) Osteo and PSoriatic Arthritis, Hypertension, Degenerative Disc Disease, and a few more beauties. Taking Oxy or viccoden doesn’t even come into play. My DGP is so bad I have lost 35 pounds over the last 3 months. When I smoke, just one puff, the nausea goes away and I can eat witout vomitting.

    Please do not make us Beg. We need this to pass.

  • duttie32 says:

    I suffer from fibromyalgia and it is no cure for this disease, I tried every medication for this disease the have on the market and nothing helps ease this pain I am at a stand still and for now i just go along with the pain
    every day until it is legalized. I need major help with finding a place that will prescribe medical marijuana to help with these debilitating disease until then I can’t get out the bed at all to enjoy my life again with my wonderful husband and my 5 children. They have to take care of me until someone help us.
    please, please, please, pretty please can someone help me.

    • Betty says:

      I know just how you fell 🙁 I am also suffering with fibromyalgia for 13 year. I also have a Great son with Autism and he is 12 yrs. old and big young man and very tall and strong young man.

      I am on a pain medication that just take a little eage off the 24 hrs and 7 day pain and
      if you know anything about Autism. It is a very hard time for the family and me the most because he is my son and I am his mom….He knows what he can get away with Things with me because of my onging pain. I take something to help me sleep the pain so so bad that it is so hard to fall a sleep with the pain at it’s worsted. I sorry I can not help you but don’t worry it will pass in PA for people like you and me..GOD BLESS ..

  • zack7644 says:

    I am 22 and I have IBS and I tried bentyl and mirlax just makes it worst.

    I tried changing my diet still cant relax my colon. I am so bloated all the time and I cant poop. Every time I smoke one hit of marijuana it releases my colon from being so tight so I go to the bathroom right away. Help My stomach is killing me please sighn the bill to legalize medical marijuana so I do not have to be in pain no more.

  • Eugene says:

    I ve been shot and stabbed,i suffer from (ptsd),and major depression and viccoden hurt my stomach. But marijauna kills the pain and calms me of any depressions that im goin through.They should at least legalize it for medical purposes!

  • Nick Spinelli says:

    I am a cancer survivor.

    I have been dealing with CLL(Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) for almost 20 years. In this time I have had 56 cycles of Chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. I suffer from the side effects of treatment as well as GVHD(Graph versus host dieses) in which my new immune system attacks my skin, eyes, mouth and liver. Luckily I have been able to stay in front of those issues for almost eight years post transplant, but I rely heavily on opiates and other hard drugs daily.

    I used marijuana during chemo and recreationally as a kid growing up in south Florida. I think the possibilities for relief and an ability to lessen my dependence on stronger drugs is very exciting. I must admit I am not in favor of all out legalization, I would not want my young child to grow up and make the drug experimentation mistakes of my young , but medically I see a huge upside to helping people who suffer like me.

  • Kerry says:

    Ok I don’t see what the whole fuss is about on legalizing medical marijuana.

    I suffer from a high anxiety dissorder called PTSD from two combat tours one to Afghanistan and the other to Iraq, marijuana is the only thing I have found to take the vivid images out of my mind and keep me calm and collected.

    I have read all of the blogs on here and agree with all of them we always complain about the economy and if the “important” people would open there eyes they would see how much money we as a nation would make off of this product.

    Another thing that makes no sense is alcohol is legal when people drive and kill themselves or others and when u smoke a bowl or blunt all u wanna do is chill and enjoy your high. Also if any congress man can till me when there was ever a recorded death from weed……..don’t worry I’ll wait……. NEVER!!!! LEGALIZE IT AND END THIS DISPUTE.

    • eziekial420 says:

      Dear Chelsea,

      You don’t know how much I totally agree with you. I also suffer from a variety of ailments, including p.s.t.d, Chronic back pain, 2 degenerative disc’s(from a 40 ft. fall at work), and a number of other ailments , which I have been suffering from , and have had chonic back pain for the last 20 years.

      I have tried every presciption pain medication there is and nothing helps me more than smoking a litte marijuana. There is no harm to myself or others ,no-one ever died or got killed , and some people just don’t get it. Why is it O.K. in one place and not another?

      People need to wake up and smell the gangha. If they where in my, or others sufferings, I am 100% sure they would agree. Please people (and yes, government)please help straighten this situation out.

    • carolyn says:

      I am suffering from terrible anxiety that causes severe depression. The kind of anxiety that makes my insides shake, it wakes me in the middle of the night, speeds my heart rate and makes me feel like I’m dying.

      I can’t function the next day because I’m exhausted. I’m a single mom with no financial help, doing everything all by myself. Whatever the household needs, I do it. I’ve been on many different meds. Ativan. Anti-depressants. I took myself off and suffered horrible withdrawals. I need help. I don’t want to do anything illegal.

      My kids are my world and they need me. I just need to take the edge off before I go to bed. So I can sleep. Not get addicted to anything or something that has me knocked out cold so that when they need me in the middle of the night I can’t function.

      They need to pass the bill. Stop screwing around. Those other meds will kill you and alcohol can become addictive. Someone needs to do something. NOW!

  • orison319 says:

    hello anybody out there?.. Dont you love how they smuggle cocaine all the way from south america and put it on the streets of philly and the Burgs… but a man cant gets some cannabis without selling his nuts and liver… Wow.. PA YOU SUCK!!

  • Donald says:

    I Think that marijuana should be legal for those who need it!!!

    This is everyones True Personal RIGHT!!! What ever we wanna injest should be up to the individual. There are no regulations on food in the grocery store is there?? and most of the food in there are what kills people…umm..let’s think Obesity??? isn’t that becoming 1 of the worst things children and teens are going through?

    Whats wrong with chronic pain people like myself, Whats worse Highly addictive opiate pain killers, or smoking a pipe full of fine marijuana???? Now what about Alcohol?? thats gotta be the worst!! people fight and argue, then get DUI/DWI’s or wreck and kill innocent people and families. Now thats whats terrible. I couldnt live with myself if I killed someone with my car after I woke up froma drunk in jail, Infact I would probably ask the prosecution to seek the death penalty because I dont think I could live with myself.

    To briefly tell my story, i will keep it as short as possible. Ok, Well back in 1999 I was put on probation for a DUI many years ago, and my PO started urine testing me, and I tested positive for marijuana, and had to do 48 hours in jail each time…so I quit for awhile, till I got off probation. Then I gradually started smoking again, it was so natural, it basically cured my severe anxiety and insomnia!! its a wonder drug for me. I so hope it become medically legal, I could cut out all the other medications I am on if I could just smoke pot daily…plus if you want a fix for the economy, then, any form of legalizing marijuana would surely do it!!!

    Come on PEOPLE!!! this is our god given freedom right to smoke pot and injest any substance we wish into our bodies?? am I wrong?? And Marijuana is so very safe…im certain it has no side effects what so ever compared to the complex and expensive prescription drugs out there on the market!
    I need this to become medically stable and safe!!!

    Vote for medical use


    • eziekial420 says:

      Dear Donald,

      I believe every word you say, marijuana should definatally be available for the masses, especially those who truly are suffering.

  • chelsea says:

    I dont see whats so bad about legalizing marijuana.

    It helps those who need it. I have bipolar disorder and ive tried everything from pills to anger management and nothing works. My mother was also diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder and she’s on so many different medication i cant even keep track of how much or what she takes, but my point is those meds have made it worse.

    When she takes them she’s so out of it she cant take care of my two younger brothers. When i smoke marijuana i get melo and calm which allows me to deal with the daily stress in my life, because im a really friendly person and i dont like being mean all the time….if smoking marijuana for a real reason is wrong i dont wanna be right.

  • lauren says:

    is this HB 1393 bill going to be considered again in PA this year like it was in 2009? I follow all the PA web sites and cant find much on the status of the bill.

  • Nombre says:

    I was recently diagnosed with EDS. . . a life full of pain. Silly thing about EDS is that you deal with excruciating pain but your body does not react normally to medication due to an inability to process prescription drugs properly (aka no pain meds).

    Sometimes I can not even walk because the pain gets so bad. Lost my 2 jobs I had over this condition . . . I am just someone trying to live as normal of a life as I can with this diagnosis… at the age of 25. . . Legalize for medical . . . if you disagree. . . then maybe I should go out on disability and you should pay.



  • karl says:

    i have chronic tarsal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, and damaged tibial nerves,i also have degenerative disc disease in my spine and had back surgery at 23. i am now 39 and have applied for soc sec because i can no longer do my job.i have taken opiate based medications for almost 3 yrs now.

    The meds give me stomach cramps and nausea so i smoke marijuana to alleviate the side effects from the opiates and the acetaminophen in the meds has made my liver enzymes erratic.legal medical marijuana would stop all that.marijuana also has a pain killing effect for me and also allows me to fall asleep at night by killing the pain in my legs. To be able to have it prescribed for me and not have to put myself in legal jeopardy would be godsend.

  • Nikolas says:

    Just like everyone else hear I only smoked socially before my bike accident and then I was put on these pain killers that ruined my life, at first I took them as prescribed then they just stopped working on me so I would have to take 2 pills instead of 1.

    And this went on for about two years and I would run out of my medicine and go threw withdraw for days until my doctor would refill the meds again. I was turned into a junkie by my doctor then made to feel like I was a lower class person because I didn’t want to live in extreme pain.

    When I smoke marijuana my pain go’s away for like 2 to 3 hours and I only get a little hungry, big difference from convulsing on the ground with a spoon on my tongue and having extreme stomach cramps from narcotic withdraw. You see the doctors think that if you take more pills than your prescribed your just doing it to get high, truth of the matter is the shit just stops working cause your body gains a tolerance level for it.

    Taken 1 pill 3 times a day for 3 months turns into 3 pills 3 times a day by the 10th or 11th month, and your not getting high your just taken your pain away, anyhow legalize it in pa please!!!

  • mike says:

    Go to ProCon.org go to six states with pending and go to PA and read

  • Gee says:

    I injured my leg back in 2008. i have been deemed to have nerve damage in my lower leg/ankle. the dr’s have tried every pill under the sun to relief the symptoms i have and feel daily.

    Before the injury, i smoked socially when i felt like it. Since my injury, pot has been the only thing that has gave me relief, enabled me to sleep a good nights sleep and all without having ill side effects, except for some munchies…. legalize it cuz it does have its benefits, medically and financially.

  • Robin says:

    I think the use of Medical Marijuana SHOULD be legalized in the state of PA.

    When my mother was going through her chemo treatments, her anti-nausea medication was $210 dollars for 4, I say again…FOUR pills! Marijuana is a CHEAPER and SAFER alternative to MANY other legal drugs. And I know first hand the benefits it has for people in pain.

    Women suffering from horrible menstral cramping. I have used it in the past as the ONLY thing that works to treat my Occular Migrains, which cause me to temporarily lose my periphrial vision. Without using marijuana to treat it, the effect could last as long as an hour. But when I treat it using Marijuana, the blurry vision disipates almost immediately!! YES to Medical Marijuana in the state of PA!! SO, so SO many people can benefit from this!

  • thomas says:

    When do you think med pot will be legal???

  • Justin P says:

    I want to open a PA “Compassion Center”. PA needs to legalize the use. When my mother was suffering from chemo treatments associated with cancer, her doctor told her that marijuana could help. However, by the time he would get the green light to prescribe her, the treatments would be long over. He suggested, this is a doctor now, that she find a “Biker” bar for marijuana. A doctor sent my sick mother out to the dangerous black market for the only medicine that could make her feel better.

    This angers me and the marijuana laws need to be changed. I want to help the people like my own mother, who needed this wonderful, natural grown plant to ease the toxic effects of chemotherapy. It’s time for PA to join the other progressive states.

  • Charles Andrew says:

    I am in Pennsylvania and have painful Tinnitus. I don’t want anything to do with opiates, but I visited a Marijuana Treatment Center in Toronto and the patients said they were doing better with marijuana and could feel better.

    I have been unable to find a Pain Management Facility that uses synthetic THC or Marinol. If you know of one I would appeciate it.


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