The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

February 1, 2014

Pot laws create difficult decisions

(Continued)

HARRISBURG — Varieties and nuance

In the meantime, the FDA’s own review of the drug is complicated because regulators typically seek to judge the effectiveness of a drug’s various components, said Mark Rosenfeld, a Utah researcher who conducts most of his studies on cannabis in China and Israel to avoid U.S. restrictions.

For patients using marijuana, combinations of the drug tend to work together to create the worthwhile effects, said Rosenfeld. That flummoxes regulators who want to understand exactly how it works.

Marijuana’s varieties also complicate the debate – at least on the state level – because some are less potent than others.

Rosenfeld noted that some variations, such as those used by epileptic children, include such low levels of THC, the drug found in the cannabis plant, that they are less psychoactive than Benadryl.

Advocates of medical marijuana worry about the nuances. Patrick Nightingale, an attorney with the Pittsburgh branch of NORML, who also represents Snee, said he’s concerned about potential compromise in Harrisburg to legalize only the use of cannabis with low levels of THC.

That would be fine for epileptic children, he said, but does nothing to help those with conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer.

Some doctors argue that Congress should reclassify the drug – based on its already proven benefits – to make it easier for researchers to conduct the studies needed to convince the FDA.

Reclassify or declassify?

Marijuana’s current classification under the Controlled Substances Act is on Schedule 1, among the drugs considered to be the most dangerous. Liscinsky said that’s based on the premise that it has “a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision.”

A bill to reschedule marijuana is mired in committee, despite having 22 co-sponsors, none of whom are from Pennsylvania.

U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Lycoming, is skeptical of the effort, said spokeswoman Sarah Wolf.

“As a former U.S. attorney, Tom saw first-hand the detrimental effects this drug had on countless lives, and he opposes any efforts to weaken the drug’s current status as a Schedule I controlled substance,” Wolf said in an email.

Josh Stanley, co-founder of the Realm of Caring, a Colorado nonprofit that developed a cannabis treatment for children with epilepsy, said he would like to see cannabis products labeled as herbal supplements. That would put some restrictions on marketers, he said, but the products would be available to those who need them.

“We don’t need reclassification, we need declassification,” said Stanley, whose group was featured in a CNN segment that helped catapult the issue of medical marijuana into the national spotlight.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Grand jury: UPMC psych clinic didn’t notify police

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 arraigned, denied bail in deadly Philly carjacking

    Two men accused of carjacking a woman in north Philadelphia and plowing into a family selling fruit on a street corner, killing three children, have been ordered held without bail.

    July 29, 2014

  • 10 things to know for Tuesday

    July 29, 2014

  • DePrimio, Mary Grace Winner of scholarship contest to represent Pa.

    Seventeen high school seniors, including three from this region, are competing to be named Distinguished Young Woman of Pennsylvania 2015.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Restaurant makes pitch for local noise law

    A Scalp Avenue wing chain owner trying to entice Richland Township officials to take over his commercial neighborhood’s noise enforcement made his pitch Monday, saying it would allow him to add outdoor events with rock bands and oldies DJs on summer nights.

    July 28, 2014

  • Tom Grenell Arena, promoter nearing new deal

    A new contract is almost in place that will retain SMG as the Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s promoter for at least five years and create a schedule for the county to pay down more than $400,000 in debt.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • PennDOT pushes ‘Yellow Dot’ vehicle stickers

    It’s the car sticker that could save your life.
    PennDOT’s “Yellow Dot” program has been around for several years, said Daniel Zakraysek, coordinator of the Cambria Allegheny Regional Highway Safety Network.

    July 28, 2014

  • Remembering elephant’s rampage

    The circus elephant paced the landing outside the Jaffa Mosque in Altoona.
    Police formed an uneasy line around the perimeter of the venue’s lawn, rifles at the ready.
    It was a cloudy, cold day in April 1993, and Tyke the elephant had just run around the circus ring, slapped a baboon and burst through a building’s front door, tearing off part of the wall above the door.

    July 28, 2014

  • 3rd Kennywood coaster earns title

    The group American Coaster Enthusiasts has named the Thunderbolt a Coaster Landmark, the third roller coaster to be so recognized at the Kennywood amusement park near Pittsburgh.

    July 28, 2014

  • Candidates rush to counter flurry of TV attack ads

    A flurry of new TV ads has debuted in Pennsylvania’s campaign for governor, sending candidates scrambling to counter the attacks as the spending and rhetoric ratchet up.

    July 28, 2014

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads