PennLive OpEd Request: Tick Tock on Medical Marijuana (A Labyrinth of Proper Channels)

Although I am a write in and not on the ballot, in accordance PennLive policy of allowing candidates seeking office in 2014 to publish one Op-Ed, today I’ve submitted the following Op-Ed to I copied Lolly Bentch Myers, Mary Pat Tomei, Danielle McGurk, and State Sen. Daylin Leach.

In the event it doesn’t run, here it is verbatim:

OpEd from Write-In Candidate for Office: Tick Tock on Medical Marijuana

<<Photo – “Tick Tock on Medical Marijuana” Credit: Kristen Hayes, 2014 candidate for PA State Representative, 84th District of Lycoming County, and fellow attendee>>Image

At some point after May 2, I will join PA elected officials and sick families sitting outside Governor Corbett’s office, until he meets with these families, or has us forcibly removed. This is part of our search for proper channels.

“Senator Leach, should he be requesting a meeting, is fully aware of the channels by which to request it. Rather than holding a press conference, he should contact the governor’s legislative secretary or the scheduling office.” Pagni said, in response to Leach’s Apr 28 announcement of our sit in.

Rest assured Sen Leach is (still) requesting a meeting, Mr Pagni. What are the channels you speak of, and what is your best estimate as to how long those take?

A Nov 19, 2013 letter from Sen Leach to Gov Corbett, on behalf of suffering Brann family specifically requests “if you would be willing to meet with them.”

A Jan 29, 2014 letter from Sen Leach to Corbett’s Physician General Dr Carrie DeLone specifically requests “to meet with several of the families, as well as Senator Folmer and I (Leach), in one meeting.”

Both are on PA Senate letterhead.

Lolly Myers, one of the parents standing with Sen Leach told me: “…we as a group have made over 100 requests for meetings.We followed their instructions!”

Danielle McGurk told me “I emailed him as well, his secretary is stating all requests must be done in writing.”

To that, Myers replied “After we all called to schedule meetings in the Fall, they told us that all meetings must be scheduled via email to his scheduler.”

When emailed, requester are told to write. When telephoned, they are told to email. Jay Pagni, or someone in Corbett’s Capitol office, could have just walked down to the Rotunda during the presser, and spoken a little about the proper channels, so all the dozens of parents, advocates and officials in attendance (just the ones I knew) could learn them and use them.

On Apr 29, a senior staffer to one of #SB1182’s sponsors {May 2 UPDATE: The unnamed staffer is MP Tomei, Director Of Community Outreach for Sen Leach.  I have since posting this received her permission to quote her} told me: “I have called (DeLone’s office) every day last week trying to ascertain how many other families Dr. DeLone met with since their promise to do so. On Monday, I was told Dr. DeLone was “on the road with her entire staff.” I wanted to know if they were out meeting families. They were unable to confirm this. I called Tuesday and received the same answer. On Wednesday, I was told that they would have an answer for me by Friday. I have yet to hear back from them.”

Dana Ulrich, parent of desperately sick Lorelei, says that “by the members of this group, there were 139+ requests either by email, letter or phone, 19 responses either by email or phone, 3 meetings with DeLone and 1 meeting with Corbett.”

That 1 meeting was with Deb Knecht, as described in her impassioned Apr 25 Op-Ed in PennLive. Knect’s writing describes that sole meeting as absolutely inconclusive:

As the semi-permeable labyrinth of protocol is explored: tick-tock runs out the clock. While that may be a timely political tactic, please know that – just since January 28, per Sen Leach – at least 12 kids have suffered over 108,000 seizures, spent 63 days in the hospital, missed 184 days of school, and taken 20 emergency room trips.

PA is sick of waiting for Governor Corbett. So we will wait at his office until he is sick of us being there. General Assembly members: please pass and send him the bill. If he vetoes it, override it. Voters: please do not vote for any candidate for statewide office who will not support SB1182. Thank you.

Steve Todd
Member, PA Advocates for MMJ (for Medical Marijuana)
Democratic Write-In Candidate, PA-106th Legislative District

I’ve also added the entire text as a comment to Sen Mike Stack’s Op-Ed:

May 2 UPDATE: Corbett Caves…a Little

As of May 1, Governor Corbett is offering a bare minimum relief to some most chronically ill, and for that I applaud him. But make no mistake: we at PA Advocates for MMJ and most other advocates (all that I aware of on such short notice) are still adamantly insisting on the bipartisan Folmer/Leach #SB1182 as written. Sen Leach states that we have the votes to pass it out of Committee and on the Floor, in both Senate and House, with strong bipartisan support in every Caucus.

May 12 UPDATE: Tick Tock’s Full Cost

This political paralysis is not unique to PA.

6 year old Lydia Schaeffer of Wisconsin passed away waiting for the political football. Her mother’s FaceBook profile pic is a picture of Lydia, with the words “In Loving Memory” superimposed.

CBD-only marijuana passed in the WI state Senate 33-0 and was signed legal April 16:

But Lydia died without the medicine her doctors said would help. But, hey, at least no one broke the law, which is immensely important to some.

President Obama should legalize this plant (for medicine) by executive order. Someone of our leaderless leaders needs to allow the many, many suffering kids, vets and just plain folks the MJ their medical professionals recommend (acknowledging that other medical professionals oppose it). It is certainly one’s purview to keep studying, but the Schaffers can not be morally required to wait until every expert approves of them taking the oils out of a plant and trying it, when the toxic, ineffective, addictive, expensive, patent, chemicals with proven irreversible side effects have been documented to not work.

May innocent Lydia rest in peace, and may not one more person die because they are not allowed to have a plant you could grow on your windowsill. Amen.

Funeral information for Lydia:

Visitation from 4-8 PM Friday, May 16 at Schuette-Daniels Funeral home in Burlington, WI

Mass at 11 AM Saturday, May 17 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Burlington, WI with a burial and luncheon to follow.

All and any are welcome to celebrate her life and attend her last dance in all services and luncheon.

May 16 UPDATE: #WhatAreWeWaitingFor?

According to fellow PA Advocates for MMJ members, who have been bird-dogging OUR General Assembly and Governor Corbett on this issue, there appears to be little excuse to continue further consideration. Sen Leach’s continual claims to have ample support DEMAND that #SB1182 as written be put to an immediate full floor vote, and sent to Gov Corbett for his action.

Of the 50 PA Senators, 46 have expressed support and have led us to believe they will vote yes. 46 is 92% of the PA Senate, which very closely approximates the 85% of PA repeatedly polling in favor.

Similarly, The PA House enjoys 83% approval – among the 100 members who will comment: 83 confirmed YES, 06 confirmed NO, 11 MAYBES. This rate is similar to both the Senate’s, and the prevailing sentiment – roughly 85% – of We The People.

This is absolutely astounding, and VERY embarrassing for the PA General Assembly if they sit on…errr, “consider in committee”…this any longer.


Time’s up, studies have been deemed irrelevant by We The Sovereign People. PA General Assembly: pass #SB1182 as written, or with minor (administrative) amendment. Send it to Governor Tom Corbett. If he vetoes it, vote to override the veto. Regardless the outcome, do not vote for any General Assembly member who does not swear to vote for #SB1182 as written, or with minor (administrative) amendment.

May 20 UPDATE: MMJ Leader Writes Me In!

Proudest vote of the day! Lolly & Anna Myers wrote in STEVEN TODD for 106th. We three demand medical marijuana 

Lolly and Anna Vote Steve

Lolly and Anna Vote Steve


May 21 UPDATE – Leaders Keep Leadin’, and the Tick Keeps Tockin’

Many parents in PA Advocates for MMJ report getting essentially the following letters, as followups to Governor Corbett’s May 1 report to them. As one recipient noted: “We got a letter the day before they “thought” we were going to do the sit in, then the next one the day after his most fierce rival kills it in the primaries.”

Briggs 050114

Briggs 052114

Three weeks after he reports this status, he repeats it. Where the heck is this “proposal”? What “research” will be begun, if that’s what the proposal’s ‘pilot’ does? What is the timeline for all this new stuff? What is wrong with #SB1182 and #WhatAreWeWaitingFor? As one victim put it: “CBD research? Its already been researched AND proven. Use other’s results”

The Briggs’ PA Senator is James Brewster, PA Rep is Joseph Petrarca, and US Rep. is Keith Rothfus. “I’ve been in touch with both Brewster & Petrarca they are both Yes votes for SB1182,” Diana Briggs reports.

Meanwhile, Amanda Delp’s baby is on Methadone. Yep, no plant for her…I hear tell the concern is it might be a gateway or something. Of the Governor’s recurring status reports, she says: “he should see just how hard it is her coming off all these drugs…since when is it fine to give a 22 month old Methadone! Couldn’t believe my ears when they put her on it.”

This is all I can do. So it is what I must do. Here is my latest reply to her family: “I hope Ryan is well this morning, and I promise to do all I can to get him the medicine he has a human right to. I am not sure what I may be able to do, as I have no way to contribute significant campaign donations to either major political party. That, in my experience is the only way to get elected folks to move. But we will continue to try together. Peace and love. Steve Todd”

So I continue to try.

May 31 UPDATE: Permission from the Fed!

There, Governor Corbett. There is your permission from the Fed. Now can this kick into gear?

H.Amdt.748 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

As of 05/31/2014 the description for this amendment has not been received.


An amendment numbered 25 printed in the Congressional Record to prohibit the use of funds to prevent certain States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Please note that articles on the full bill – H269 – are misleading. Many in PA voted yes for the bill as a whole but all voted no on the marijuana amendment. The amendment passed (by a much narrower margin than the over all bill) – but the article makes it sound like our PA Rep reps voted for it and they didn’t.

For those on FB, here is our PA contingent. Only Brady, Fattah, Perry (only Republican), Schwartz, Doyle, and Cartwright voted for the MMJ amendment:

June 1 UPDATE – Mainstream Media Catches Up, Barletta Busted Stalling

One such article I cited yesterday as misleading:

has been radically rewritten, including the title. The corrections seem to reflect the information I posted in the comments section of that article yesterday.

Much, much better, author Ivey DeJesus. Your revision – which seems to account for my information below, and certainly came after it – is much more in keeping with the tightrope Republican caucus must walk to please both their incumbent Governor Corbett, and the rest of PA, who regularly poll around 85% in favor of medical marijuana…NOW. Which allows the true debate to continue where it left off:

How long does Rep Barletta think these “hearings and input from the medical community, among others” should take? Does he know we’ve had years and years and years of just this type of “hearings and input” already, and will he use some of that instead, given people are suffering now? Does his time allotment (hoping he has one) jive with the amount of time Gov Corbett thinks it should? There are suffering people right now, folks are free to use a doctor-prescribed plant you can grow on your windowsill right now in 22 states and DC. PA has already #SB1182 roundly hailed as protective yet flexible enough to earn the huge bipartisan support it has sitting in Committee…under careful consideration or stalling for time one can only guess.

The small and shrinking opposition to #SB1182 has cited the Fed as in the way. The Amendment, which no PA Republican except Perry supported, removes that barrier. Barletta says here that he opposed the Amendment because it does exactly what this lonely opposition (can we just call it “Tom Corbett” and the shrinking band of Corbsters?) said it needed to happen to bring #SB1182 to the Floor. That is puzzling or worse.

Folks: please don’t let up. Your calls, visits, postcards, demonstration, social media presence are drowning out the immense campaign contributions by The Political Class. Make your elected employees earn that handsome salary and un-dreamable benefits package you buy them. Tell them to bring #SB1182 to vote now, as written, or with minor administrative amendment (no gut and whatever at the last minute).

June 10, 2014 UPDATE: #SB1182 Medical Marijuana Hearing

I was there, in Hearing Room 1, North Office Bldg, Harrisburg, at 10:00 am. I saw Irvin Rosenfeld showing off his Federally grown and prescribed cannabis. B…b…but it is Schedule 1, so has no medical purpose? According to the US Federal government, yes. And yet you (all the power of said Federal government) have been buying Rosenfeld pot since 1976, and a dozen others, 2 still alive. His doctors have submitted 2 reports each year, showing this medicine is the only reason he is living a fully productive, tax-paying life. His alternative is to sit at home incapacitated on FDA-approved narcotics, collecting disability.

And the US tried to make him pick that. Luckily, those dozen folks sued us and won the right not to waste their lives that way. Everyone else in the US has to though: Bush Sr killed the program his part of the failed Drug War.

The USA still holds a patent on medical marijuana though…on a drug it stubbornly insists has “no medicinal value”, not even worth allowing studies on.

Here are the letters Luke R. Shultz, Erica Lynn, Les Stark and I turned in to Governor Corbett today, also on behalf of Connie Guy, Jamie Messersmith and National Guardsman Specialist Walter Rice.

Corbett had replied to our request for him to support #SB1182. His plans sound like he wants to start over from ground zero. We replied support #SB1182. I sense a merry-go-round (continuing) in our future, but I sat beside Amy Audino Houk and her son Cam today. He has hundreds of seizures a day. The least we can do is to try. Look, his secretary was so franticly busy, she barely noticed all four of us enter the otherwise empty room. Now that is dedication to the job:


Responses to Corbett #SB1182

Responses to Corbett #SB1182

Delivering Responses to Corbett

Delivering Responses to Corbett

I haven’t been at it for nearly as many years as some of these folks. But I understand that Corbett ignored this issue, until bipartisan critical mass made that impossible. Now: it appears we are soon to start exploring discussing the various and complex yet challenging options to begin authorizing meetings about studies…

If the Governor is worried about support for #SB1182 in the Republican, conservative controlled PA House, per Cara Salemme our internal whip at PA Advocates for #MMJ: “Just so we all know as of today…105 HOUSE YES votes…simple majority, done.”

The Senate has long had a huge majority. So then, again: #WhatAreWeWaitingFor

June 14, 2014 UPDATE: My Government is Behaving Immorally

My government is behaving immorally. Dana, Lorelei and their entire family is being devastated by that. I am trying to change it, others are promising to start discussing studies and stuff. We am not doing enough. I apologize from the bottom of my heart.

For those opposed to medical marijuana #MMJ, this is a post from a friend. Pass #SB1182 now. If Corbett vetoes, override, now. If your General Assembly members won’t commit to both, pledge not to vote for them both in November. #WhatAreWeWaitingFor? #legalizeforlorelei

Dana Nadzam Ulrich – 12 hours ago:

“Lorelei had a really awful day. She was so out of it. Unable to walk straight, slurring her speech, her coordination was way off. Her appetite was great but she even had trouble getting food to her mouth. Her seizure activity was off the charts.

I hurt so bad for my baby. It hurts so bad knowing that medical marijuana could be our miracle and the people in power won’t allow it. Lorelei deserves more than this from life. She deserves it now! Through tears and anger I pray that she will be given her chance. #legalizeforlorelei — feeling devastated.”

Sept 9 UPDATE: Hail Mary Pass to Undecided Dems

I sent the following to all PA State House Dems who we are not clear about where they stand. No responses yet. None. Not even the old faithful “I have received your input, and it is very important” deal. Will advise if changes:

From: Steve Todd
CC: lolly; erin; kerri; les;;;
Subject: SB1182 Floor Vote, per 80%+ Public Support
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2014 12:20:49 +0000

Honorable Representatives Barbin, Bishop, Clay, Cruz, Davidson, Deasy, Evans, Farina, Harhai, Harris, Kavulich, Kotik, Markosek, Miranda, Petrarca, Ravenstahl, and Thomas:

I am the Chair of the Derry Township (Dauphin County) Democratic Committee, although today I have a request which is not in that capacity, but as an individual fellow Democrat. I ask your leadership to ensure that the Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act will be voted on and passed this Fall.

Firstly, I would like to know your position on SB1182 (and/or its companion, HB2182). You may be aware that SB1182 enjoys a rare and bipartisan 90% minimum approval among sitting PA State Senators. Our exhaustive research indicates a majority in the House as well, and we need the just a little more support to make SB1182 veto-proof, as it already is in the Senate. This mirrors the over 80%, which both the US and PA consistently poll, in favor of medical marijuana; even among those who oppose decriminalizing recreational marijuana use. And yet, no vote. Which brings me to my next request:

Secondly, please do everything you can to force SB1182 (or its companion, HB2182, although the Senate bill is much further along) to a floor vote this session, in both chambers. This would catch PA up to the majority of US states and Washington, DC.

This bill would allow doctors to recommend marijuana for our sickest citizens, when they feel it would be in their patient’s best interest. It is crucial for you to realize there is absolutely NO ALLOWANCE FOR RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA use, or the relaxation of its punishment, proposed in this bill. It only addresses allowing this legitimate drug to be recommended by a doctor.

We would really love your support on this lifesaving measure. But regardless how you would vote, due to its sheer popularity, this measure can not be allowed to expire in Committee, while still calling our representative government a democratic republic.

Our sickest folks – including kids and veterans – and their caregivers need a Floor vote on this bill. Without one, they will not have an historical record on which to judge their General Assembly member, as they head to the polls this year.

Lastly, I extend an invitation for you to join our Campaign for Compassion Rally on the Capitol steps Sept. 15. More info here:

Thank you for all you might be willing to do.


Steven W. Todd, PE
Member, PA Advocates for Medical Marijuana
(full contact info followed)

Sept 16 UPDATE:  Tweets, from the Campaign for Compassion Rally, via @stevenwtodd

Monday, September 15, 2014; 10:00am – 12:00pm
Pennsylvania State Capitol
Harrisburg, PA

Oh, it is on. #CampaignForCompassion Rally. PA Capitol, Main Rotunda, NOW.

The war on drugs is a waste and a war on everyone. This guy too. #CampaignForCompassion rally.

#CampaignForCompassion – this is half the crowd at the Capitol. More arriving every second. Other half of crowd…

…the other half of the crowd at #CampaignForCompassion. So far. Excellent music, so come on out and support #MMJ

Proud mom and key #CampaignForCompassion ally, MP Tomei. Takes pic of her wonderfully talented daughter singing.

Deena Kenny begs OUR doctors and elected “leaders” to overturn “the musings of a bigot.” #CampaignForCompassion

Deena Kenny asks her daughter’s question: “why did our leaders help Rocco the dog before my brother?” , none know.

Those opposed to #CampaignForCompassion and #SB1182, these parents, vets and kids are the potheads you fight. Shame.

Jesse Truitt Army PTSD victim, 2x dose “legal” meds, & can only speak w/ friend behind her. #CampaignForCompassion

Tricked by the left! RT@freedomsfriend Supporter of #MMJ: Rep Mike Vereb, fmr cop & narcotics agent. #PAHouse #sb1182

Prayers, Heartache and Hospitals – Our hearts and prayers are with each of these families as they continue to fight from hospitals instead of their homes.


About steventodd

Both parties are broken by big money...what to do? I'm a dad, husband, son, taxpayer, voter, civil engineer, reporter, blogger, rabble-rouser and honest guy.
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