Deacons, reverends, rabbis, pastors and other Pennsylvania clergy members have put their names to a document urging lawmakers in the state to legalize medical marijuana.
More than 50 clergy members have signed a statement supporting medicinal cannabis, with a representative group holding a press conference outside of the Lt. Governor’s office yesterday to show their support.
“Look at your fellow man and make this bill about the patients and not about the politics. There are real people and faces behind this legislation that we are fighting for,” said Cara Salemme in a message to state lawmakers.
In May this year, the Pennsylvania Senate passed medical cannabis legislation, but the bill didn’t get past the House Health Committee. However, in June, the Committee voted unanimously to approve a bill allowing people to access medical marijuana based on a doctor’s referral. The bill will be put before the House Rules Committee for further consideration.
In Philadelphia, possession of marijuana was decriminalized in October last year.
90% of voters in Pennsylvania support legalizing medical marijuana.
“While we may practice different faiths and come from different communities, we share the same commitment to improving the broader community through the practice of humanity, healing, mercy, and compassion,” says part of a statement from the clergy group; which calls itself Clergy with Compassion.
“That is why, as leaders within our respective communities of faith, we are joining together to encourage the Pennsylvania General Assembly to adopt sensible, comprehensive medical cannabis legislation.”
The group says some sufferers of chronic and debilitating conditions find marijuana used as a medicine to be the most effective way to treat symptoms.
In total 23, US states have legalized the possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes at this point in time. The first state to do so was California in 1996. Some or all patients and/or their caregivers are able to cultivate marijuana 15 of the 23 states for medical purposes. The possession limits for medicinal cannabis in each state can be viewed here.
Other states in the USA have legalized a single compound extracted from the marijuana plant, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which is one of at least 85 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis.