"It's a bipartisan issue," he said. "I don't think that legislators can make it a back-burner issue any more."
But Republican Gov. Tom Corbett's spokesman, Kevin Harley, said Corbett would veto any legalization bill, even if it were limited to medical purposes.
"He believes that smoking marijuana is a crime, should remain a crime and that marijuana is a gateway drug," Harley said.
State Rep. Mark Cohen, a Philadelphia Democrat who unsuccessfully sponsored medical-marijuana bills in the last two legislative sessions, said he would introduce similar legislation in the next session but he is not optimistic about its prospects.
Cohen said the proposal lacks support among his fellow Democrats and has no support from the Republican majority.
Unless that changes, "it's obvious we don't have the votes to pass it," he said.