Eight months after the Pennsylvania Senate last approved medical cannabis protections, patients are still waiting for the House to follow suit. On Monday, they held a rally at the State Capitol to urge lawmakers to make passing a comprehensive medical marijuana bill a priority.
The Patriot-News reports:
Several dozen supporters of a bill to permit use of certain cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes in Pennsylvania ramped up the pressure on hesitant state House leaders Monday.
The group of parent, patients and other caregivers - which has flooded the Capitol in support of their cause regularly over the past several years - staged an impromptu sit-in on the House side of the Rotunda Monday afternoon.
The point, said rally spokeswoman Latrisha Bentch, was to show House leaders in a very tangible way their patience is wearing thin as the 2015-16 legislative session enters its second half.
The group took seats on the Capitol's Mercer tile floor shortly before 3 p.m., all but blocking session day traffic and a few perplexed staffers, for 18 minutes: Two minutes for each month since the Senate sent the leading medicinal marijuana bill to the House with a 40-7 vote.
"I feel like our kindness has been mistaken for weakness, and we don't have to be kind to them (lawmakers). We don't," Bentch said as the rally was breaking up.
Last May, the Senate approved S.B. 3, which would allow patients with serious illnesses to obtain and use medical cannabis recommended by their doctors. Over the summer and fall, a House work group developed recommendations and the Rules committee moved the bill to the House floor. But it has yet to get a vote — and the most significant amendment includes troubling provisions such as a cap on the amount of THC.