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Parents, State Sen. Fight For Legalization Of Pot To Treat Epilepsy

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Parents of children with different types of epilepsy explained how medical marijuana could help their kids without the serious side effects of other drugs, at a town hall meeting in Export Tuesday night.

Diana Briggs says they've tried everything to help her 14-year-old son Ryan, but nothing has the potential of marijuana oil.

She backs a plan to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The bill's prime sponsor is a conservative Republican from Lebanon County, State Senator Mike Folmer.

He told KDKA's David Highfield that he believes God put marijuana here to help us fight illnesses. He's speaking at town hall meetings across the state before the legislature returns next month.

"I believe this plant was put here by God to help us," he said. "To help us fight various illnesses."

He says pot's stigma is what makes the idea seem so controversial.

"Because of the word marijuana," he said. "If this was the Yucca root, nobody would give a rip."

Although some people disagree.

"I feel this compassion issue, is just a back door attempt to get marijuana into the states," said Mark Roberts of Murrysville. "And once you have an opening, the pro-marijuana people will just push and push and push and push."

Sen. Folmer says he has enough votes for the bill to pass in the Senate, and enough votes to override a veto from Governor Tom Corbett.

Another town meeting is scheduled for Wexford Wednesday night.

Sen. Folmer talked with Mike Pintek about Tuesday night's town hall meeting regarding the use of medical marijuana. Sen. Folmer was very much against the use of medicinal marijuana, but after he began his own research, his views changed.

"This bill is not trying to bring Pennsylvania down, or hurt our youth," said Sen. Folmer. "This bill is basically about liberty. This bill is basically about allowing a person and their doctor to have one more arrow in their quiver to help them fight their disease."

Senator Mike Folmer

He was inspired by many stories from parents whose children could benefit from the bill's passing. He looked at himself and realized he needed to educate himself better before he could take a stand on this issue.

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