Placebo effect : Corbett’s medical marijuana position is timid

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In supporting the use of cannabis for children afflicted by seizures, Gov. Tom Corbett has heeded the call of humanity. While this was a big step for him personally — given his opposition to the use of medical marijuana — it is limited in terms of the greater issue.

Mr. Corbett acknowledged as much in a statement announcing the move. He said that he had met with parents of children who have severe seizure disorders and had heard their “concerns and heartbreaking stories.” But, he said, “we must address this issue in a way that helps these families, but also protects the public health and safety of all Pennsylvanians.”

Translation: He’s not going one toke over the line. His proposal includes new legislation that would allow a research-based pilot treatment program involving cannabidiol with leading children’s hospitals in Pennsylvania. CBD is an oil derivative of cannabis that is taken orally.

The problem is that by opening the door a crack, and conceding that marijuana has a legitimate medical use, he leaves older Pennsylvanians who are nauseated or in pain on the outside looking in. Children are a sympathetic group, but not the only one.

This not-even-half-a-loaf approach, while a tiny step in the right direction, suggests that Mr. Corbett has heeded the call not only of humanity but of politics in an election year.

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