After receiving immense public pressure to support medical cannabis legislation that would help suffering children and families across the state, including an announcement made by Senator Daylin Leach at a press conference on Monday where he and several families threatened to hold a sit-in at the governor’s office if he did not respond to their calls for medical cannabis by the end of this week, Governor Corbett has not only changed his position, but is now proposing legislation that would enact a medical cannabis pilot program in Pennsylvania.
The governor’s office issued the following press release this afternoon:
Governor Corbett Discusses Medically Responsible Proposal for Pennsylvania Children Suffering Severe Seizure Disorders
May 1, 2014
Harrisburg – Governor Tom Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett today met with parents of children who have Dravet Syndrome and other related severe seizure disorders to discuss a medically responsible proposal that would allow access to cannabidiol (CBD) in Pennsylvania.
“I have been looking at this issue extensively over the past few months and listening to many perspectives,” Corbett said. “I have heard the concerns and heartbreaking stories of these families and want to help. However, we must address this issue in a way that helps these families, but also protects the public health and safety of all Pennsylvanians.
During the meeting today and in additional communication with affected families, Governor Corbett proposed several solutions, including new legislation that would allow a research-based pilot program with leading children’s hospitals in Pennsylvania. This pilot would provide access to treatment for affected families and further scientific study of the use of CBD.
CBD is an oil derivative of cannabis that is taken orally.
Governor Corbett also vowed to continue dialogue with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure public safety and health efficacy within the pilot program.
“These families want a specific approach that will address the problem at its core,” Corbett said. “This administration is committed to helping develop a medically responsible solution.”
Attending the meeting along with Governor Corbett were First Lady Susan Corbett, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Michael Wolf; Physician General of the Commonwealth Dr. Carrie DeLone; Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs Gary Tennis; and parents from two of the affected families, Deborah Knecht and Christine and Eric Brann.
“I look forward to working with the legislature to help these children,” said Corbett. “We can develop a responsible solution if we put politics aside and work together.”
Those wishing to commend the governor on his recent change of heart can e-mail Governor@pa.gov or call (717)-787-2500.