Matt E. Baker
|Matthew E. Baker|
|Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 68th district
January 5, 1993
|Preceded by||Edgar A. Carlson|
January 24, 1957 |
Buffalo, New York
|Spouse(s)||Brenda K. Baker|
|Alma mater||Corning Community College
Matthew E. "Matt" Baker is a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 68th District and was elected in 1992. For the 2009-10 legislative session, Baker has been appointed Republican Chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Prior to his election to the House, Baker served as a district legislative aide for 13 years. He worked in a Wellsboro law firm for twelve years where he specialized in serving people with disabilities. He helped them Obtain Social Security and disability benefits before federal administrative law judges.
Baker has seen many of his bills become law, including Act 22 of 2012, known as Pennsylvania’s Identity Theft Act, which makes it a felony of the third degree to commit a first offense of the crime of identity theft and provides a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine. A third or subsequent offense raises the crime to a felony of the second degree with a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison and a $125,000 fine. Act 166 of 2004 allows auto accident investigators to file summary charges up to a year after an accident, thereby giving law enforcement officials the necessary time needed to complete their investigation of the most difficult incidents – ones that cause serious bodily injury or death and frequently involve multiple vehicles.
Baker is opposed to cannabis reform. He does not support the legalization of medical cannabis.  As chairman of the House Health Committee, Representative Baker has single-handedly blocked medical cannabis reform in PA even though 85% of Pennsylvania residents support legalizing cannabis for medical purposes. 
Baker has consistently claimed that his stance against medical cannabis is based on "150 scientific studies showing the dangers of marijuana". When Baker finally provided this list of studies to the public, it was discovered that few links went to actual scientific studies. Senator Daylin Leach, a supporter of legalizing medical cannabis in the state, further criticized Baker for basing his decision regarding legal, controlled, regulated, medical cannabis on studies that primarily focused on uncontrolled, heavy, recreational use by teenagers. Leach also said "The other big flaw with the articles you cite, is that because they deal with recreational, rather than medical marijuana, they don't compare the risks of marijuana with the risks of the alternatives. If you look at the side-effects and risks of the drugs [we] prescribe now for epilepsy, they make long-term psychic changes looks extremely mild. Their common side-effects include liver failure, kidney failure, respiratory failure, blindness, and death." 
Baker has taken tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies, in reward for his opposition to medical marijuana. Baker has received $22,800 from the Pharmaceutical Industry and some of those campaign contributors include Astra Zeneca, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and Pfizer. 
Last year, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, who lobby for pain killers, issued a press release claiming that medical marijuana is ineffective when it comes to treating chronic pain, which is one of the key issues medical marijuana advocates are pushing for in Pennsylvania. In that news release, the ASA wrote:
“The surprising result of our study was the absence of any kind of analgesic activity of THC-standardized cannabis extract on experimentally induced pain using well-established human model procedures,” study author Dr. Birgit Kraft said in a prepared statement. “Our results also seem to support the impression that high doses of cannabinoids may even cause increased sensitivity in certain pain conditions.”
The study is published in the July issue of the journal Anesthesiology, and examined the effect of treating sunburn pain with cannabis in 18 volunteers. Subjects were given cannabis extract or an active placebo consisting of diazepam. 
Previous research has established that cannabinoids (which include tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana, and cannabidiol or CBD, a non-psychoactive component) are particularly effective against (chronic) neuropathic pain and pain in MS. They also may help ease chronic pain in cancer patients, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, and spinal cord injury patients. There have been inconsistent findings about the effects on acute pain. 
Last September, Lee Fang reported that Pfizer has become a major player in the pain killer industry. He stated that “Pfizer has moved aggressively into the $7.3 billion painkiller market. In 2011, the company acquired King Pharmaceuticals (the makers of several opioid products) and is currently working to introduce Remoxy, an OxyContin competitor.”
Baker graduated from Cowanesque Valley High School, Westfield. He holds an Associate Degree from Corning Community College, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree as an honors scholar from Elmira College. He also has a Certificate in Business Management, and attended Mansfield University. Formerly of Westfield, Pennsylvania, Baker resides in Wellsboro, Tioga County, with his wife Brenda.
- "Representative Baker's Web Profile" http://repbaker.com
- Goldstein, Chris. "Philly420: Pa. House committees entertain medical marijuana fiction". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
Romeo, Tony. "Medical Marijuana Tougher Sell In Pa. House". CBD Philly. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- Deitch, Charlie. "Up in Smoke?". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- Deitch, Charlie. "Unpacking state Rep. Matt Baker's medical-marijuana research". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- "Matt Baker". Influence Explorer. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- Kraft, B; Frickey, NA; Kaufmann, RM; Reif, M; Frey, R; Gustorff, B; Kress, HG (July 2008). "Lack of analgesia by oral standardized cannabis extract on acute inflammatory pain and hyperalgesia in volunteers.". Anesthesiology 109 (1): 101–10. PMID 18580179.
- Grotenhermen, F; Müller-Vahl, K (July 2012). "The therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids.". Deutsches Arzteblatt international 109 (29-30): 495–501. PMID 23008748.