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Politics & Government

House GOP: Medical Marijuana Bill Isn't Dead Yet

A House GOP spokesman says the majority's lawmakers aren't giving up on a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

A plan to let doctors and nurse practitioners recommend different forms of marijuana for various ailments passed in the state Senate by a huge margin last month.

In the House, the bill's fate was always less certain. One problem popped up as soon as it was referred to the Health Committee: the panel's chairman, Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tiog), said he wouldn't put the measure to a vote.

"It would be irresponsible of me as chairman of the Health Committee to bring up a bill for possible passage that I think, based on the medical and scientific community, could cause tremendous harm physically," said Baker, "not just to adults, but especially for children."

But House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin said others are still trying to craft a bill that does have the Republican majority's support.

"We are working on the issue," Miskin said.

A successful measure would need to gain Baker's support, soften his opposition, or circumvent the Health Committee altogether. Miskin said there is "no strategy" in works now. He added that many members still voice concerns about regulating medical marijuana and keeping it away from recreational users.