Wednesday, April 29, 2009
State Representative Mark Cohen of Philadelphia has introduced a bill that would legalize and regulate the use of medical marijuana. Under the law, a patient could get a recommendation from their doctor to begin using marijuana to help treat a disease or alleviate the pain of a disease. That individual would then apply to the State Department of Health to receive a card allowing them to grow as many as 6 plants and hold one once of “usable marijuana” at a time. For those who do not want to grow their own marijuana the bill allows for “compassion centers” to be established to grow the marijuana on behalf of the card holder. Cohen says it will take empathy for those suffering from painful ailments and knowledge of how marijuana can help to get the measure passed. Right now he has 6 cosponsors. The Democrat says these are not people looking to get high. They are people looking to find relief from their suffering. He says for many the high price of other pain medication puts it out of reach and for others the side effects and addiction associated with painkillers are worse then the pain itself. There are 13 other states with medical marijuana laws and several states with similar bills pending. Cohen says his law has tighter restrictions than all the states with laws currently on the books. The bill carries a charge of $50 for each medical marijuana use card, a licensing fee for compassion centers and a tax on all medical marijuana sold. It has been estimated that 25 million dollars would be created by the new industry. Cohen says it is time to shed the old image of marijuana and see its new face. He says that new face is one of a father suffering from cancer, a son stricken with AIDS, a grandfather fighting glaucoma, and a friend with Crohn’s Disease.