Doctors debate medical cannabis at Pa. Senate hearing

Doctors debate medical cannabis at Pa. Senate hearing

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 in Blog

thHARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It was a battle of the doctors at a hearing on Senate Bill 3, a proposal to legalize medical cannabis in Pennsylvania.

“I think it needs study. It needs further clarification,” said Dr. Steven Shapiro of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

“It is up to the physician to decide how to use a medicine. We use medicines every day in an off-label use, every single day,” pediatrician Dr. Jack D’angelo said.

Senators Mike Folmer and Dailyn Leach are continuing their push to get their bill passed, but they do not have the support of the Medical Society. They say there are not enough studies to show medical cannabis works.

“The concern is that we are causing harm and as a physician one of my prime goals is to do no harm. With this drug there may be benefits, I suspect there is, but we do not know which parts of the drug and what dose and what are the long term side effects,” Pennsylvania Medical Society president Dr. Bruce MacLeod said.

“There is nothing in our legislation that requires doctors to prescribe this. There are many doctors that wish to,” Leach said. “It is odd to me that an organization that represents physicians is trying to tell physicians what they can and cannot prescribe to their patients in their best medical judgement.”

At a rally after the the hearing, reaction to the Medical Society’s testimony continued.

“The only group that came to oppose this said there were no studies. That is why they were opposing it. I have a list of about 300 studies, peer reviewed, double blind,” Leach said.

“I want to help doctors and I believe that medical cannabis could be one of the tools, one of those weapons in the doctors hands that will help them heal their patients,” Folmer said,

Representative Ed Gainey is trying to gain support for medical cannabis in the House.

“Let’s stop with the distorted facts that there is no research, that there is no reports, that it is Schedule One and we want to hide behind the FDA,” Gainey said. “Let’s move everything out of the way and focus on people and make sure we provide another form of relief to the people that need it. That is what government is about.”

Watch ABC27 Coverage Here