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June 23, 2015
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A bill thought to be dead in committee could be on the move at the Capitol.
Senate Bill 3 to legalize medical marijuana is stalled in the House Health Committee. Chairman Matt Baker refuses to move the bill forward, saying “marijuana needs to be approved by the FDA and more research is needed.”
Fellow Republican Representative Nick Miccarelli has filed a discharge resolution to try to move Senate Bill 3 out of Baker’s committee. Discharge resolutions do not happen often and are not always successful, but it may give the bill a chance to move to the House floor.
“There is seniority. The chairmen do have a certain amount of power, but the members, I believe, have the right to consider any legislation that comes down the pike,” Miccarelli (R-Delaware) said. “It is a very rare thing to have a discharge resolution come to the floor, but in certain situations I believe it is necessary and I believe this is one of those situations.”
At a rally supporting the bill, a Camp Hill family shared the story of 25-year-old Marine Corporal Dane Freedman. The machine-gunner served two tours overseas and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He took his life in the back of his car. He shot himself in the heart with a 9mm gun,” his mother Donnamaire Freedman said.
Donnamarie says her son at one point was taking 21 pills a day and medical marijuana was the only thing that truly helped him.
“I saw what it did for him, how it helped him, and how difficult it was for him to get it when he needed it,” she said.
“It was just really hard to see him kind of lose himself in himself because of all the medication, and he would become a zombie,” sister Rachelle Freedman said. “The only time I really saw him bounce back to himself is when he had cannabis and he could smoke it.”
The family says they will continue to be Dane’s voice to fight for other veterans suffering from PTSD.
“We feel the overmedication of veterans is such an important issue and it definitely, we think, contributed to his suicide,” Rachelle Freedman said. “I have to be here for him and I know that he would love we are out here doing this for him right now.”
“Until my dying breath I will support medical marijuana,” Donnamaire Freedman said.
The discharge resolution will need the signatures of 25 House members to move Senate Bill 3 out of committee.