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Pennsylvania lawmakers hear from backers of medicinal pot

Published On: Jan 28 2014 09:24:07 AM EST   Updated On: Jan 28 2014 02:54:01 PM EST

A Pennsylvania legislative panel received a wide range of testimony at a two-and-a-half-hour hearing, most of it positive, for a bill to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Parents of children who suffer from seizures made emotional appeals to the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Tuesday to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana extracts. They said government-approved drugs not only failed to stop the seizures but cause severe and sometimes violent side effects.

Josh Stanley, who co-founded a Colorado nonprofit that's exploring the medical potential of marijuana, told the panel that compounds in the plant could treat an array of diseases including cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.


Cara Salemme, of Spring Grove, York Co., said that if the bill doesn't pass, she'll leave Pennsylvania for a state that allows it to help her 7-year-old son Jackson who has seizures daily and hasn't spoken in three years.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society withheld its support, saying more study is necessary.

Gov. Tom Corbett opposes the measure.