For decades, those opposed to cannabis use in any form, and for any reason, could always fall back on one simple phrase when faced with the inconvenient truth about marijuana's incredible safety: “But what about the children?”
Now that talking point has been turned around, as parents of severely ill children nationwide push for access to cannabis-derived medicine to treat pediatric epilepsy and other debilitating conditions. In fact, in Pennsylvania, this new dynamic may soon inspire a group of concerned citizens to stage a sit-in at the office of Governor Tom Corbett, with multiple families and at least two local lawmakers promising to occupy the premises until the state's highest official agrees to meet with them regarding medical marijuana.
“We want Governor Corbett to provide a confirmed date and time by May 2nd of when he will meet with me, Senator Mike Folmer, and at least six parents of children who can benefit from this medicine,” Daylin Leach, a Democrat in the Pennsylvania state senate said during a recent press conference. “We demand, and do not think it is at all unreasonable, to hold a group meeting before the end of May. If not, at a time of our choosing, families from across the state will gather in the Governor’s Reception Room until he agrees to meet. These families are desperate and tired of waiting.”
Leach acknowledged that the Governor has previously met privately with at least one family pushing for access to medical cannabis, but also pointed out that the family later wrote an open letter to the Governor urging him to take action. And that family has since partially relocated to Colorado in search of high-CBD medicine, unable to wait any longer for Corbett to act.
“As you know, my husband Mark and I have made the painful decision to divide our family's residency between two states, Colorado and Pennsylvania so that Anna can safely and legally begin treatment [in Colorado].” Deb Knecht wrote to the Governor following their face-to-face meeting. “Sadly, I'm learning that our family is not alone in making this heartbreaking choice, because we want our children to live.”
Governor Corbett, meanwhile, has vowed to veto a proposed medical marijuana bill, and continues to declare that federal officials should make such decisions, rather than individual states. A stance roundly rejected by Representative Leach.
“Gov. Corbett has done nothing on this issue while Pennsylvania families suffer,” Leach said in a statement. “The administration’s inaction is callous and inexcusable. We will come to him if he continues to ignore their immeasurable suffering.”