Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf visited the Chester Pike office of state Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-162) last week to thank Miccarelli for supporting the recently signed medical marijuana bill which will allow commonwealth residents to acquire marijuana in pill, oil extract, nebulizer, and topical form.
The bill does not permit the drug to be smoked.
The bipartisan bill was sponsored by Sen. Mike Folmer (R-48) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-17). It’s adoption made Pennsylvania the 24th state to permit the use of medical marijuana.
Miccarelli said when the bill came to the house, he did everything in his power to facilitate its passage.
“This was a great display of bipartisanship,” Miccarelli said, “Cooler heads prevailed and this is really a good case of how legislation is supposed to happen.”
“This was a bipartisan effort and people worked across the aisle,” Wolf said. “We are trying to make life better for all Pennsylvanians.”
In addition to Miccarelli, Glenolden resident John Beinlich, 24, a recovering heroin addict who lost his dad in 2004 because of prescription opioid abuse, was on-hand to express his personal appreciation.
“I support medical marijuana because it’s certainly much better than what we have now,” Beinlich said. “By the grace of God I have been clean for 10 years, but I’m the exception, not the rule. “It’s so important that we’re giving the doctors more of an opportunity. We can’t keep giving them a sledgehammer to hit a tack. “If marijuana can treat something that they’re giving oxycodone for, it’s something we need to explore.”
Wolf stressed that the primary objective of the legalization of medical marijuana is to attempt to decrease opioid abuse which, over the past 10 years, has skyrocketed in the state.
“We lost about 2,000 people last year alone to opioid overdose,” Wolf said. “In the states that have legalized medical marijuana, the deaths from overdose of opioids has declined about 25 percent … That’s 500 lives we can save each year.”
Miccarelli said it was a personal issue for him because of the number of individuals who have been affected in his district alone.