A Midstate family is hoping local lawmakers will help make medical marijuana, or cannabis, available in Pennsylvania.
Several people came to Congressman Scott Perry's town hall meeting in Lemoyne Monday night in support of 10-year-old Anna Knecht. She suffers from a chromosomal abnormality which causes uncontrollable seizures.
Oil from marijuana has shown promise in helping kids deal with this condition. Anna's parents want Perry to help gain approval for medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Otherwise, they said Anna will have to go to a state that has legalized marijuana, like Colorado.
"But if she goes to Colorado and is successful, she becomes a medical hostage in Colorado," said Anna's father, Mark Knecht. "She can't leave and can't come back to Pa. Her grandparents, who can't travel, will pretty much kiss her goodbye when she leaves to go to Colorado."
Perry says he is against recreational marijuana, but supports its use for medicinal purposes and he understands the family's sense of urgency.
"For their case where they're worried about their child and their child's growing up with this life that's not as full as it should be or could be, I understand their urgency and I would say that Congress needs to move with the same urgency," Perry said.
Perry says he's been working on a bill to legalize medicinal marijuana at the federal level.
The Knecht family says the quickest solution would be to change federal law to reschedule pot so it has medical value and could be brought back to Pennsylvania. Or maybe Pa. could follow Colorado's lead, they suggested.
"We're trying to move the legislature here in Pa.," said Knecht. "There's currently a bill in the Senate that has bi-partisan support."
"I don't want my heart broken and I don't want their hearts broken," said Perry. "They shouldn't have to split up their families. They shouldn't have to leave Pa. They shouldn't have to leave the country. We should be able to solve this."