Ronald Reagan said: "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."

That is the goal of Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. I am the sponsor of this legislation, which would allow Pennsylvania physicians to prescribe medicinal cannabis in certain situations.

I believe under the guidance of a medical professional, patients should have every opportunity to combat their illness and have the liberty and ability to use cannabis as a weapon in their arsenal of treatment.

There are many misconceptions about cannabis, which is a drug, just like alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications. Doctors prescribe FDA-approved drugs, such as Vioxx, Ritalin and Adderall to combat disease, but according to the FDA, those drugs are more harmful than cannabis, which doctors cannot prescribe. An FDA report shows from 1997 to 2005, more than 8,000 people died solely from taking Vioxx, Ritalin, Wellbutrin, Adderall and Viagra.

Medical cannabis has proven valuable in fighting and preventing disease and managing pain. The Scripps Research Institute showed tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main ingredient in cannabis, prevents the formation of deposits in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease. The California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute demonstrated cannabidiol (CBD), another active ingredient, can stop the spread of breast cancer.


The key to understanding and advancing the legalization of medical cannabis is education and clarifying misconceptions. First and foremost, medical cannabis does not provide a "high," which is typical with marijuana or "pot." The forms of use of medical cannabis are determined by doctor and patient, and just like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet, dosages are supervised by medical professionals.

I believe medical cannabis is a positive option for children who suffer from seizures, and an alternative for cancer patients facing chemotherapy. Medical cannabis has never been found to cause death, unlike other FDA-approved drugs. Researchers and scientists have shown there are benefits to using cannabis under the supervision of a doctor.

Medical cannabis has been proven effective across the nation, but unfortunately, Pennsylvania patients have no access to this natural plant. By prohibiting the use of medical cannabis I believe we are denying our most vulnerable citizens an improved quality of health, and therefore life. That is why I call on my elected colleagues, and the governor, to support the use of medical cannabis.

— State Sen. Mike Folmer represents the 48th District, which includes parts of York County.