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Welcome to "Mike's Memo," an update on what's happening in the 48th Senatorial District and the State Capitol. If you haven't done so already, please take a moment to visit my website at www.senatorfolmer.com to learn more about my legislative priorities and issues that may affect you and your family.

Week of January 15, 2018

Reaction to U.S. Attorney Jeff General Sessions’ Decision to Rescind Cole Memo
I am disappointed and saddened with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind the Cole Memo limiting federal resources related to cannabis.

Children with seizures, Veterans with PTSD, cancer patients – these are not the people I think of when hearing ‘serious priorities related to criminal activity. Attorney General Sessions has a very skewed view and I pray that he nor any of his family will ever need to utilize this God-given plant as medication. These are the people we need to be helping the most, not prosecuting and causing them further harm. This decision is just both disheartening and difficult, if not impossible to understand.

Comparing cannabis to heroin is such an uneducated statement. Attorney General Sessions really needs to do his homework. He should talk to those who testified at a Senate State Government public hearing, and read the JAMA Internal Medicine study referenced at that hearing that looked at how the availability of medical cannabis, an alternative prescription to narcotics for pain management, affected overdose death rates. If he did, he would learn the findings showed that the average rate of opioid painkiller overdose deaths in states with medical cannabis laws was about 25 percent lower than the average rate in states without these laws.

I commend the Governor for protecting Pennsylvanians, and I thank U.S. Attorney David Freed for his statement that his office has no intention of disrupting our medical cannabis program here in Pennsylvania. Now I urge Congress and the US Senate to do the same: act to protect constituents.

Resolution regarding the Protection of Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
Those who seek to use medical cannabis have been told their 2nd Amendment Rights may be restricted due to federal actions. Yet, alcoholics and those involuntarily committed to treatment facilities for mental issues have no restrictions placed upon their 2nd Amendment Rights. For this reason, I will be introducing a Resolution calling upon Congress to amend the Gun Control Act of 1968 to protect the gun rights of medical cannabis users.

The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed to regulate the firearms industry and firearms owners. In 1993, it was amended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to include controlled substances. As cannabis is a Schedule I drug of the federal 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has issued guidance restricting the ownership of firearms and ammunition related to Schedule I drugs.

In 2016, my Senate Bill 3 was signed into law as Act 16, declaring, in part: “scientific evidence suggests that medical marijuana is one potential therapy that may mitigate suffering in some patients and also enhance quality of life.”

Twenty-nine states, including Pennsylvania, have legalized cannabis in some form and I believe the guarantees of the 10th Amendment must prevail: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

I also believe failure to do so threatens 2nd Amendment rights, which guarantee: “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 5th Amendment rights are also threatened, which guarantee that no person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Southwest Park Community Playground Rebuilt
According to the Pennsylvania Municipal League’s Winter 2017 Municipal Reporter, “In September, more than 200 volunteers from the City of Lebanon,, PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Lebanon Valley Family YMCA, WellSpan Health, United Way of Lebanon County/a>, Iron Valley Real Estate and the PA Municipal League, along with organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Lebanon community teamed up to build a new community playground at Southwest Park.” See the full article here.

Congratulations to William Schenck on Retirement from Springettsbury Township
The PA Senate is pleased to recognize individuals who, through their laudable tenure of service, contribute in a meaningful way toward the well-being of their communities. Congratulations to Williams Schenck on his December 31 retirement after 23 years of dedicated service to Springettsbury Township, York County. Mr. Schenck has been a member of the Springettsbury Township Board of Supervisors since 1994 and served as Vice Chairman of the Joint Fire Services Committee from 2005 to 2007 and as Chair of the York Area United Fire and Rescue Commission since its inception in 2008. Throughout his career, he has striven to adhere to the highest standards of service and has earned the respect and admiration of his friends and colleagues. Read more in the PA State Association of Township Supervisors December 2017 PA TownshipNews here.


Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at any time on state-related issues that are of concern to you. I may be reached through my website or my Lebanon or Harrisburg offices.

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