State Senator Daylin Leach (D. PA-13), A.K.A. Pennsylvania's Liberal Lion, who is running for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz's (D. PA-13) seat as she pursues her bid for governor, received some more momentum for his medical marijuana bill that he is trying to get passed through the State Senate:


State Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon County, will co-sponsor a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

The other sponsor will be state Sen. Daylin Leach, a Philadelphia-area Democrat who previously introduced such as a bill. Leach and Folmer plan to detail their proposal on Monday.

Previously, there has been little support from Republicans for medical marijuana, although proponents including Leach say that is starting to change.

In an interview this week, Folmer said there are many legally-prescribed drugs, including painkillers, which have negative side effects such as high potential for addiction. But because of their medical benefits, doctors can prescribe them, said Folmer, who argued doctors should similarly be able to tap medical benefits of marijuana.

Folmer said, “medical cannabis is a plant that has been put here by God to be used for our benefit.”

Leach said in a news release, “By working together on this important issue, my colleague and I are breaking new ground and taking huge strides toward allowing Pennsylvanians access to this life-changing and beneficial alternative form of treatment. That is nothing short of earth-shattering in the realm of Pennsylvania government.” - The Patriot-News, 11/14/13

Folmer isn't the only Republican State Senator to co-sponsor Leach's medical marijuana bill:


A medical marijuana bill pending before the Pennsylvania legislature has picked up the added support of State Representative Jim Cox, who becomes the first Republican co-sponsor of the bill.

Cox signed on as co-sponsor of the bill after speaking with Central Pennsylvania mother of three Dana Ulrich, who’s daughter Lorelei suffers from severe epilepsy. After hearing the story of the family Rep. Cox was compelled to help.

House Bill 1181, which would authorize medical marijuana dispensaries and allow home cultivation by patients and their caregivers, has been pending before the House Health Committee since it was introduced in April, and has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Regardless, activists are optimistic about the addition of Rep. Cox to the growing number of lawmakers in Harrisburg who support safe access to medical marijuana.

It is believed that Rep. Cox is the first Republican to co-sponsor any marijuana reform bill in Pennsylvania.

Rep. Mark Cohen‘s House Bill 1181, also known as the “Governor Raymond P. Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act,” now boasts nine co-sponsors in the House.

The bill is named after Raymond P. Shafer, the late Republican Governor of Pennsylvania, who envisioned common-sense marijuana policies during his tenure as Governor from  1967-1971.  Previous medical marijuana proposals in Pennsylvania introduced in 2011 and 2012 also bore his name. - The Daily Chronic, 11/4/13

Polling has shown that support for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is at an all time high and the call for medical marijuana continues to grow:


Kathy Taylor never expected at age 66 to be fighting for her grandson’s right to marijuana.

But that was before her grandson was stricken with relentless seizures which began around his first birthday. The spasms and convulsions cause his head to jerk violently and make his eyelids flutter and his eyes roll. They last up to 45 minutes.

Now nearly three, he takes powerful drugs that nauseate him and have caused severe weight loss. But his seizures continue.

Especially distressing to Taylor is how her grandson stopped singing nursery rhymes and has regressed intellectually.

“They can’t develop because their brain is dealing with non-stop seizures,” the Derry Twp. resident said. “You end up with a kid that’s disappearing right before your eyes.”

Taylor, a retired lawyer, is among a contingent of Harrisburg-area parents pushing for Pennsylvania to legalize marijuana for medical use. Many have children with severe seizure disorders. - The Patriot-News, 11/14/13

I applaud Senator Leach and his colleagues for continuing to fight for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.  State Senate President Dominic Pileggi (R. PA) continues to refuse to bring the bill up for a vote:


Erik Arneson, the spokesman for Chester Republican Dominic Pileggi, the Senate majority leader, says it won’t change anything.

“I don’t sense any significant change in the views of the members of the Senate on the issue,” Arneson says. “And the governor remains clear in his stated intention to veto it if it ever were to pass. So we have no intentions of taking the bill up any time this session.” - CBS Philly, 11/15/13

We can't let Pileggi crush any hopes of medical marijuana becoming a reality in Pennsylvania.  If you live in PA, please do put the pressure on Pileggi to bring Leach's bill up for a vote:


And please do keep putting the pressure on all Pennsylvania State Reps and Senators and let them know you support medical marijuana:


Leach is running in a crowded primary in a very blue district.  I won't bad mouth his opponent because they all have great qualities but Leach is the best Democrat running for Schwartz's seat.  Is continued work to make medical marijuana a reality is one of several reasons why we need to help Leach win his primary.  Support for medical marijuana has continued to grow in the House of Representatives and Leach would be an excellent addition to help carry on this cause.  By the way, here's another bill Leach is pushing through in the State Senate:


Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) Tuesday unveiled new legislation that would amend Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to require electric energy distribution companies sell a larger percentage of electricity made up of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic.“I’d like to thank my colleagues and fellow environmental stewards that joined me today in support of my Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards legislation,” Sen. Leach said. “By amending these standards, we will not only reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we’ll also make Pennsylvania competitive with neighboring states, create thousands of jobs, stimulate the economy with investment capital, protect our environment and preserve public health. Those are all investments that we need to make in our Commonwealth, and will make by passing this legislation.”Senate Bill 1171 (not yet online), introduced last week, would require that electric energy distribution companies sell a larger percentage of electricity made up of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar photovoltaic. The standards have not been amended since 2007, and Leach said it is time that we update them and invest in Pennsylvania’s economy and environment.Sen. Leach was joined at the press conference by environmental advocates who heralded his legislation. Tom Schuster, Sierra Club Pennsylvania Campaign Representative, said, "We're ready for Pennsylvania to once again lead the nation in clean, renewable energy development. Building more wind and solar power in our state will create jobs, grow our economy and help clean up the air our kids breathe. Our families deserve healthy air and a strong economy, and investing in clean energy for our homes and businesses can get us there.”Leach added that Senate Bill  1171 would nearly double the amount of renewable energy generated in the state, including tripling the amount of solar power. A 2010 report by the Political Economy Research Institute and the Center for American Progress estimated that efforts focusing on production of renewable energy could create up to 2 million jobs nationwide.The report stated, “Wind and solar photovoltaic industries provide at least 40 percent more jobs per dollar than coal. And, research from economist Dan Kammen shows that renewable energy has many more jobs per megawatt-hour than traditional energy sources. Second, by developing clean energy technologies, states will encourage innovation and new economic opportunities, a virtue unto itself.”Additionally, the study noted that clean energy investments create 16.7 jobs for every $1 million in spending. In contrast, the report said, fossil fuel spending generates only 5.3 jobs for every $1 million spent. Clean energy investments create nearly 3 times more jobs for people with college degrees and nearly 4 times more jobs for people with high school degrees or only some high school education. Other speakers at the press conference included Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), sponsor of companion bill House Bill 100; Tom Schuster from Sierra Club; Khari Mosely from Blue-Green Alliance; Bruce Burcat from Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition; and Christina Simeone from PennFuture. - NorthcentralPA.com, 11/13/13
Please do consider donating or getting involved with Leach's campaign here:

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, Climate Hawks, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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