Senator Uses Medical Marijuana For Hodgkin Lymphoma

United States Senator Admits to Using Marijuana As Medicine- State Sen. Mike Folmer, who pushed a medical marijuana legalization bill (That became law) in Pennsylvania earlier this year, used medical marijuana while undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

He used marijuana in conjunction with chemotherapy and said he has been cancer free for nearly two years.

“I believe it helped magnify the effect of chemotherapy in a … whirlwind fashion. I mean, my blood work has been immaculate,” Folmer told the York Daily Record/Sunday News editorial board.

Folmer stated marijuana not only helped fight his lymphoma, it also helped him keep up his appetite and avoid other types of treatment that would have been riskier and essentially put him out of commission for 6 months.

Folmer represents parts of southcentral Pennsylvania. Marijuana was not legal in Pennsylvania at the time of his use. He said he had to travel to another state to obtain his medical marijuana, he used it in Pennsylvania despite a state ban at the time.

Folmer said he has not publicly discussed his medical marijuana use before because he hadn’t been asked about it.

The Legal Implications

Even though Folmer is subject to criminal charges, there are several reasons why Folmer likely will not,  according to Jules Epstein, a criminal law expert, and director of advocacy programs at Temple University’s law school.

“For one thing, simply admitting to a crime isn’t enough for a conviction,” Epstein said. “There has to be other evidence that a crime occurred. There’s also the question of whether any prosecutors would be interested in pursuing an investigation into a former cancer patient’s past use of medical marijuana. I think they have bigger fish to fry,” Epstein said.

Folmer said if he’s not harming anyone else or himself, and he’s receiving care under a medical professional, “Whose business is it?”

He also said marijuana is safer than prescription opiate painkillers. He announced the non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis in February 2012, and in April 2013 he said that as part of his ongoing treatment, he would undergo chemotherapy twice a week, every three weeks, for six months. Folmer said his cancer diagnosis and treatment didn’t cause him to miss any voting sessions in the Senate and he didn’t get high from using marijuana. Folmer said he no longer uses medical marijuana, and he said he wouldn’t use it recreationally even if it was legal to do so.

Folmer’s support of Medical Marijuana

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed the legislation in April. The law will allow patients with serious medical conditions and under a physician’s care to access medical marijuana at dispensaries.The program is expected to be fully implemented in 2018.

 

Resource: York Daily Record

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