HARRISBURG -- The legalization of medical marijuana may be closer than it's ever been in Pennsylvania. The issue is back in the state legislature and now it has support from Governor Tom Wolf.
A bill to legalize marijuana for medical use was introduced in the state senate this week. In the past, Governor Tom Corbett opposed such a bill. But today, our new governor did what lawmakers called a "180" and said that he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law.
Opinions here in our area though aren't as concrete.
If it passes a series of legislative hurdles, medical marijuana could soon be legal in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania would become the 24th state to allow pot to treat certain health problems. But, it's still seen as a little too progressive for some people in our area.
"It could be good and bad. I mean, if it helps with the problems that you're having with the pain and everything that`s fine, but it could just lead to dependency," said Joe Rutledge of Elmhurst.
That was the stance Governor Tom Corbett had when the bill passed the senate in 2014. Now in 2015, Governor Wolf said he would sign a medical marijuana bill into law. He met with long-time supporters of the bill in Harrisburg Tuesday.
A change of tune in the governor's office has some people thinking that medical pot may be closer than it's ever been before.
"I think it`s going to make a lot of people, make it a lot easier to get to, because a lot of people could also go in there and just pretend they`re sick for medical reasons just to get the marijuana. So, I think it`s a bad idea," said Marilyn Portis of Carbondale.
Doctors in northeastern Pennsylvania are also saying, "not so fast."
"Currently, the medical society thinks, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence but no real concrete evidence right now," said Dr. Ariane Conaboy, president of The Lackawanna County Medical Society.
Dr. Conaboy and other members think it's too soon for medical marijuana to be legal in Pennsylvania.
She said there's not enough research about marijuana's medical benefits or consequences.
"If we do have people who could potentially be taking medical marijuana, are they able to drive? Are they able to do certain things? Does this cause certain inhibitions at times?" Dr. Conaboy added.
Members of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Cannabis Network, a group based out of Lackawanna County that supports legalizing medical marijuana, sent several members down to Harrisburg Tuesday to show support for the bill.
The bill needs to pass the senate, then the house before it gets to the governor's desk.