Davidson supports medical marijuana bill to stem rising tide of heroin addiction

HARRISBURG, March 14 – State Rep Margo Davidson, D-Delaware, supports legislation that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania because she believes it would help people avoid relieving their pain by seeking out other narcotics and becoming addicted to drugs such as heroin.

Davidson is poised to vote for the medical cannabis legislation (S.B. 3) as the House debates it this week.

“I have dedicated my life and legislative career to the real war on drugs, where we work to decrease demand through prevention, intervention and treatment,” Davidson said. “Medical marijuana has been proven to reduce opioid deaths and it is effective for alleviating chronic pain. We can literally save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives with this legislation.”

According to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 23 states and the District of Columbia permit some form of medical marijuana and prescription drug deaths have dropped by 25 percent in states that permit medical marijuana.

Davidson said the report shows that states with legalized medical marijuana saw, on average, 1,700 fewer deaths a year from prescription drugs than they would have otherwise.

The Delaware County lawmaker said several new studies by the Journal of the American Medical Association showed impressive results that marijuana can be effective treatment for many medical disorders and possibly avoid addiction to harsher narcotics.

In 2015, the JAMA Psychiatry study found that opioid painkiller use has contributed to the rising use of heroin, another opioid, which is even deadlier and more addictive than painkillers.

“The statistics and successes for medical cannabis states in reducing opioid overdose and deaths are shocking,” Davidson said. “If medical marijuana does nothing else but replace opioids for chronic pain, we will save countless lives and make a significant and substantial dent in the war on drugs.”

Davidson said that in addition to alleviating chronic pain, medical marijuana is proven to help people suffering from debilitating seizures and cancer patients affected by chemotheraphy.

The Senate overwhelming passed the bill twice.

“We need to get this bill passed in the House and on the governor’s desk to be signed into law,” Davidson said.