November 9, 2009 - Chris Goldstein, Communications Director PhillyNORMLWHO
: Pennsylvania House Health and Human Services committeeWHAT
: Public Hearings on HB 1393, medical marijuana in PAWHEN
: December 2, 2009, 11:00 AMWHERE
: Room 140, Main Capitol, Pennsylvania Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PACONTACT
Philadelphia - Pennsylvanians for Medical Marijuana (PA4MMJ) is pleased to announce that the PA House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee will have hearings on HB 1393, The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
Scheduled in Harrisburg on December 2, 2009 these will be the first public hearings on medical cannabis in the history of the Commonwealth.
On April 29, 2009 Rep. Mark B. Cohen, the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, introduced the bill to legalize medical marijuana. HB1393
is solid legislation that would allow registered patients to grow six plants or purchase cannabis through Compassion Centers. A provision in the bill allows these medical cannabis sales to be taxed.
AIDS patient and medical marijuana activist Barry Busch, founder of PA4MMJ.
Barry passed away on July 11, 2005, before he could see a
Medical Marijuana bill introduced. HB 1393 is named for him.
Representative Cohen has taken on the issue with courage, drive and a real understanding of patients needs. At a press conference at the bill's introduction Cohen said, "It's time to create a new, honest image for marijuana. One as a form of treatment that when prescribed by responsible doctors could help thousands of patients across this commonwealth."
Three newspaper Editorial Boards endorsed the bill immediately after it was introduced: The Philadelphia Inquirer
, The Pocono Record
and the Daily Review of Towanda
The topic of medical marijuana has been well covered this year by local media. Rep. Cohen and spokespeople from PA4MMJ have appeared in television programs on the radio and in newspaper articles covering the issue.
The December 2nd hearings will feature PA patients who have the tremendous courage to tell their legislators about their personal experiences finding benefits from cannabis therapy. Medical professionals and other experts have contacted PA4MMJ and expressed their commitment to testifying at every stage of the legislation.
Volunteer advocates Derek Rosenzweig, Ed Pane and Chris Goldstein have been interacting with legislators including Representative Frank Oliver who chairs the twenty-six-member HHS committee. Overall reaction to the bill by elected officials has been positive and filled with curiosity.
PA4MMJ hosts a website that includes a detailed look at the legislation, medical marijuana information and action points for volunteers. The group is still seeking those patients and professionals who wish to testify.
PhillyNORML and PA4MMJ hosted a series of medical marijuana information seminars
over the summer and held a candlelight vigil was held in front of Independence Hall on July 11th. Awareness and fundraising events for HB1393 are planned throughout the winter. Please visit www.pa4mmj.org