Medical marijuana bill’s afterglow may be short lived

Supporters of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana bill signed into law Sunday touted the bipartisanship that marked its passage, but even during their victory lap there were signs that the warm fuzzies may be short lived.

Gov. Tom Wolf joined advocates and Lebanon County lawmakers on Monday to celebrate the measure’s enactment. For state lawmakers, it is a rare moment of pride after a year in which the state legislature has been an object of derision over the months-long budget gridlock.

“I totally call this a nonpartisan victory,” said Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, speaking about the medical marijuana bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate. “I’m hoping there’s going to be more opportunities to do this.”

But the kumbaya moment will be tough to replicate. Wolf himself didn’t sound optimistic that any political lessons of the medical marijuana bill might be applied to budget negotiations.

“That’s going to be really tough,” said Wolf. “We’ll give it a try.”

And as other lawmakers have pointed out, the unrelenting push for the medical marijuana bill came from a sympathetic group of citizen lobbyists led by mothers of sick children.

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