For Pa. medical marijuana bill, an unexpected lull

    (Gene Ashley/WHYY)

    (Gene Ashley/WHYY)

    A plan to allow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania may be further away from becoming law than supporters had hoped.

    The legalization plan is before the Senate, after passing the House overwhelmingly two weeks ago. But key Senate supporters told last week that the House made changes to the proposal that could prove to be problematic.

    The concerns about reconciling differing versions of the legalization plan are a marked change from the jubilant mood in the Capitol two weeks ago as the proposal passed the House, where a skeptical GOP speaker and Health Committee chairman had posed the biggest hurdles to the medical marijuana proposal.

    Dozens of advocates cheered as they met with Gov. Tom Wolf shortly before the House passed the plan allowing Pennsylvanians to use certain forms of marijuana to treat certain ailments.

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    “This is historic and it’s happening today because of what you all have done,” Wolf said to applause from longtime advocates, some of whom held the children whose ailments had prompted them to begin lobbying for medical marijuana’s legalization.

    But the House-approved medical marijuana plan appears to differ significantly from the measure passed by the Senate in May.

    Senate supporters are now pondering their next move. They could amend the plan again and send it back to the House, risking further delay, or they could send it to the governor’s desk and find a way to work through any problems after the bill’s enactment.

    Both chambers of the legislature will return to Harrisburg for voting session days the first and second weeks of April.

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