Last month we reported on how well a medical marijuana bill was doing in Pennsylvania. Soon after that, the bill hit a wall in the state house; a wall consisting of one man, House Health Committee Chairman Matt Baker (R), who refuses to let the bill go through his committee because medical cannabis hasn’t been approved by the FDA.
That’s right, one man decided patients in PA shouldn’t have medical marijuana, so that’s it. But hold on, there may be light at the end of the tunnel.
Republican Representative Nick Miccarelli has filed something known as a discharge petition in an attempt to move the bill out of Baker’s committee.
“There is seniority,” Miccarelli said. “The chairmen do have a certain amount of power, but the members, I believe, have the right to consider any legislation that comes down the pike. It is a very rare thing to have a discharge resolution come to the floor, but in certain situations I believe it is necessary, and I believe this is one of those situations.”
If Miccarelli can get 25 signatures from fellow House members on his discharge petition, he can get it moved to a different committee. And in the end, what is Rep. Matt Baker afraid of? If cannabis is so bad and so under-researched, then members won’t vote for it.
But that’s not the real fear. The real fear comes from big pharmaceutical companies who cannot compete with medicinal marijuana with their pills and the multiple side effects that come with them. It’s much easier to just block the medical cannabis in the first place and force people into the pill option.
Pennsylvania is a very populous state, which means there are a lot of people in the state right now who need medical marijuana. They deserve to at least have their representatives vote on the issue.