Senator to DAs: Don’t prosecute for medical marijuana

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) –  A co-author of the legislation that legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is asking district attorneys not to prosecute people who get cannabis for medicinal purposes before the new program is running.

Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Delaware/Montgomery) told county prosecutors it could take between 18 and 24 months to write the new regulations and to open growers and dispensaries.

In a letter Thursday to the state’s district attorneys, Leach wrote that until then, sick Pennsylvanians deserve medicine, not prosecution.

“Parents whose children are suffering from devastating seizure disorders, veterans suffering from PTSD, and cancer patients being ravaged by the side effects of chemotherapy, among others, are facing a choice between three bad options. They must endure unspeakable and unnecessary suffering; or they must move to a more accommodating state, leaving behind their families and careers; or they must risk arrest and prosecution by procuring medical marijuana in another state and bringing it back to Pennsylvania,” Leach wrote.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed the medical marijuana legislation into law on Sunday. Act 16 of 2016 allows people to take marijuana in pill, oil, vapor, ointment or liquid form if they have been diagnosed with one of 17 qualifying illnesses.

“Consider announcing to the public that you will use your prosecutorial discretion to forgo prosecution of any person for possession of marijuana if he or she can demonstrate that he or she is using the marijuana for medical purposes,” Leach wrote. “To those of you who have already done this: thank you.”

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