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Open Letter Shames Governor on Medical Marijuana

A letter from State Senator Daylin Leach to Governor Corbett was published in the Patriot News a few weeks ago. It calls out the Governor for not supporting medical marijuana legislation and leans heavily on one particular patient’s sad story: 3-year-old Garrett Brann. In what could be called flagrant politicizing of the youngster’s plight, Senator Leach pretty much lays the matter at Corbett’s feet.

Part of the letter is an appeal to the Governor to meet with the little boy’s family and explain why marijuana, which is purportedly the only good treatment for his seizure condition, is not legal in Pennsylvania. But this kind of over-the-top pandering does just the opposite – it makes medical marijuana proponents seem callous enough to use a child’s medical condition for their own ends.

The root question is whether marijuana really is the right medicine for the disease. This is disputed. Even if it helps in Garrett’s case, there’s no assurance it would help others, even if they have his rare disease. According to the FDA, there is currently no proven medical benefits to using marijuana. What’s even trickier is that Garrett has only responded to one particular “flavor” or strain of marijuana, a type he is unable to get in Pennsylvania.

Should the Brann family be able to use marijuana to treat their child? Certainly, if it helps and a doctor recommends it. Does this justify making marijuana legal statewide? Hardly. If Garrett needs weed to save his life, and he were my child, I’d be on the next bus to California or Colorado, or wherever I could obtain the drug. But we can’t set broad policy based on unique circumstances. A governor’s job is bigger than any one person or individual tragedy. That’s a tough part of the job, but Gov. Corbett shouldn’t be making decisions based on singular events, no matter how much they tear at our heartstrings.

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