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Despite Governor's Objection, Pa. Senate OKs Medical Marijuana Bill

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- The Pennsylvania state senate today voted overwhelmingly in favor of a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, but the odds are steep against the measure becoming law in the current legislative session.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 43-7 in favor of medical marijuana.  The measure was championed by state senator Daylin Leach, a suburban Philadelphia Democrat.

"This is going to help people who are in desperate situations," he said.

Under the proposal, state residents would need an access card from the state health department after proving they have a practitioner-patient relationship and written confirmation of a qualifying medical condition.

But one big problem for supporters is governor Tom Corbett. His spokesman, Jay Pagni, says the governor's position has not changed.

"The governor is opposed to the legalization of marijuana for either purpose: recreational or medicinal," Pagni said today.

Corbett has proposed a limited research pilot program.  But even before the bill can get to him, it has to go through the state House, where, with only a handful of days left in the current session, a spokesman for the majority leader says the medical marijuana bill will have to be reviewed and vetted during at least one hearing.

All bills not passed this year will have to be reintroduced next year.

The legislative debate had been propelled by parents who believe a marijuana oil extract can help their seizure-wracked children.

A handful of drug delivery methods that do not involve smoking it would be permitted under the bill, including extracted oil, edible products, ointments, and tinctures.

More than 30 other states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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