NEW Pennsylvania Alert: Legalize Medical Cannabis, Support SB3

Pennsylvania SB3 would legalize medical marijuana. It passed in the state Senate on May 12 with a 40-7 vote. It must pass through the House Health Committee before it can receive a full vote in the state House. Take the following action steps to ensure the success of this important bill.

1. Call the House Health Committee Chair, Matthew E. Baker. Strongly, but respectfully urge him to move SB3 forward to a vote in his committee. A phone call has 10x the impact of an email.

(717) 772-5371

2. Call the rest of the committee members. Again, be strong, but respectful. Urge each of them to take action to move the bill forward and vote YES on SB3.

Florindo J. Fabrizio (D) Minority Chair (717) 787-4358
Becky Corbin (R) (717) 783-2520
Jim Cox (R) (717) 772-2435
Gary Day (R) (717) 787-3017
Frank Farry (R) (717) 260-6140
Marcia Hahn (R) (717) 783-8573
Kristin Hill (R) (717) 783-8389
Aaron Kaufer (R) (717) 787-3798
Tim Krieger (R) (717) 260-6146
John Lawrence (R) (717) 260-6117
Harry Lewis Jr. (R) (717) 787-1806
Paul Schemel (R) (717) 783-5218
Marcy Toepel (R) (717) 787-9501
Tarah Toohil (R) (717) 260-6136
Jesse Topper (R) (717) 787-7076
Judy Ward (R) (717) 787-9020
Kevin Boyle (D) (717) 783-4944
Vanessa Lowery Brown (D) (717) 783-3822
Mary Jo Daley (D) (717) 787-9475
Jason Dawkins (D) (717) 787-1354
Pamela DeLissio (D) (717) 783-4945
Robert Matzie (D) (717) 787-4444
Gerald Mullery (D) (717) 783-4893
Michael O’Brien (D) (717) 783-8098
Michael Schlossberg (D) (717) 705-1869
Ronald Waters (D) (717) 772-9850

3. Call Back – any NO or UNDECIDED – in 3-4 days.   Make sure to follow-up. If they say YES, be sure to thank them and, if possible, announce their committed YES vote to email and social media contacts. If they say no, politely ask them why. Get the information from them and contact us.

4. Spread the Word. Share this information widely by facebook, twitter, email and other social networks.

5. Pitch in and help us grow our efforts. Help our efforts to end the War on Drugs and to bring peace on our streets:

Medical Marijuana: A Brand New Battle in Pennsylvania


Who is Matthew Baker and more importantly, who does he think he is?

If I had to guess, he’s a power hungry politician who represents a very small percentage of Pennsylvanians. He seems more intent on being a pseudo scientist and medical professional than in being a legislator.

One cannot argue the republican representative is very popular in Tioga County (population a bit over 46,000) where he garners enough support to potentially remain in office for a very long time.

He claims to have all this scientific data and research, yet has failed to produce even one study during the debate on Senate Bill 3, the Medical Cannabis Act.

He utterly ignores the fact that 23 states have legalized some form of medical marijuana already, and all without attendant horror stories of death and mayhem.

Even more amazing, he ignores the fact that the United States government itself actually provides medical marijuana for a small number of patients. That’s right, Uncle Sam is dealing the Devil’s Lettuce in the form of tin cans of perfectly rolled joints.

This is the same government that keeps marijuana listed on the Schedule 1 narcotics list, though we are starting to see a change of attitudes on that among politicians and law enforcement professionals.

And still Mr. Baker, who chairs the House Health Committee, refuses to focus on what is happening in the world around, before his very eyes. He instead chooses to focus on the fear of “what if?”, and perhaps the fear of losing his office.

Or maybe, just maybe, he fears losing a rather large portion of his donors, which for some reason include a large number of pharmaceutical firms. This would not be odd if these companies had offices or manufacturing facilities located in Tioga county, but they don’t. Why would they even donate to a campaign whose outcome has no actual effect on their business?

He certainly has no difficulty ignoring the fact that several of his contributors are facing penalties and fines for selling drugs for uses which are unapproved by the FDA:

“It is amazing when you consider the strong opposition of the expert medical and scientific community that appeared to be ignored (and) the only drugs that should be allowed in the Commonwealth are those that are authorized through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process. —  Rep. Matthew Baker

How can one explain his unwillingness to produce these reports of strong opposition and why pharmaceutical companies would be concerned about the election outcomes in a very small county in Pennsylvania?

Oh, wait. He chairs that committee. Let’s give him money.

Actually, I am reminded of the scene from Blazing Saddles, when Hedley Lamarr (Harvey Korman) says, “But, where could we find such a man? And why am I talking to you?” “You” being, WE, the people.

Do you have any idea how tired I and others are of reminding Mr. Baker that 88% of the people in Pennsylvania approve of medical marijuana legalization?  Apparently, a large part of that other 12 percent live in Tioga County, which must be populated by folks who would rather let children die than see their beloved representative lose his corporate donor base.

Why is it even legal for a corporation with no address in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, to donate in what is, by definition, a local election?  I find it hard to believe they do it because they call it home… in their hearts, anyway.

How would you feel if, say, 10 doctors agreed on a potentially life saving medicine for you, or heaven forbid, your child, but a single politician, backed by money from a bunch of companies with no viable alternative to offer (I know, they’re working on it, so just suffer till they work it out), is able to tell your doctors, “No, let your patient die.”

Does any of this make sense to you?

It makes sense to Matthew Baker. He seemingly has no problem (or compassion) saying ‘no’ when a weeping mother stands before him, telling a true story of how this medicine can save her child. He’d rather protect imaginary children than real, living breathing children.

Or maybe it’s even simpler than that. Maybe he’d rather have the money.

Scott Gacek at The Daily Chronic has written an excellent piece detailing the campaign contributors Mr. Baker actually represents. He has quoted myself and others in the fight to legalize marijuana about Matt Baker and about new strategies we need to explore.

Frankly, having participated in this ongoing debate for years, including testifying in Harrisburg, I am starting to wonder if Mr. Baker is delusional and in need of some medication from his supporters.

Or at the very least, the man seems to be in need of an enema, and fortunately, he won’t need a prescription for that.

About the author

Patrick K. Nightingale is a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor with deep experience in search and seizure law, DUI law, drug crimes, white collar crimes, and representing violent offenders. Since 1996, Mr. Nightingale has worked diligently on behalf of his clients to mount passionate, well-planned, and professional criminal defense services. Mr. Nightingale is also an active member of the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).