Ex-DEA agent on medical marijuana: some ‘can’t grip it until they’ve lived it’

Ex-DEA agent on medical marijuana: some ‘can’t grip it until they’ve lived it’

A long-sought and historic vote on legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania appears delayed until Tuesday if not later.

Meanwhile, supporters including two midstate lawmakers rallied again Monday at the state Capitol, calling for an end to delays, and railing against proposed amendments they say would water down the bill and make it ineffective for many people.

State Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, a former federal drug enforcement, spoke in favor of the bill. He described a recent meeting where he said he told fellow House members it comes down whether or not they can turn their backs on Pennsylvania residents who are suffering. Regan has spoken of a loved one being treated for cancer who, facing severe pain and loss of appetite, had to illegally obtain marijuana for relief.

Describing resistance to medical marijuana, he said, “some people can’t grip it until they’ve lived it.” Regan said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that a vote will soon be held.

State Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin County, also spoke, saying the bill is about giving doctors the ability to prescribe medical marijuana to those they believe will be helped.

State Rep. Ed Gainey, D, Allegheny County, said in a separate interview he remains confident a vote will be held this week unless Republicans have a major “change of heart.”

Republican leaders have been divided, with House Speaker Mike Turzai opposing it, and Majority Leader Dave Reed pushing for a vote.

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