It’s been nearly two years since Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation authorizing medical marijuana, and the state opened its first dispensaries back in February of this year. As state law currently stands, as of late March the nine dispensaries in operation in the Keystone State are not allowed to sell flower, sticking instead to offering cannabis in oil, pill, gel or liquid form. However, this may soon change, as the push for Pennsylvania to sell legal flower has made some headway.
Earlier this year, PA’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board recommended the state allow the sale of cannabis in dry leaf form. In addition, the board voted to pass the recommendations on to the state’s secretary of health and physician general, Dr. Rachel Levine. The hope is that the Department of Health will create regulations to allow the sale of flower in medical dispensaries. Governor Wolf’s office said he will be waiting for Levine’s review before broadcasting whether he supports the proposed change.
While many Pennsylvanians in the state’s medical marijuana program might have their needs met with what is currently legally available in dispensaries, others may only find relief or benefit from inhaling dried leaf. Patients and advocates alike are eagerly watching to see what the secretary of health will do with the board’s recommendation, and if it may soon change state law.
If the law does change, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the state is prepared to meet the demand of patients. Although current state law allows for 25 growers and up to 50 dispensaries, of the 12 cannabis growers in total that have been officially approved for licensure, at present there are only two supplying product to the entire state. Unfortunately, there are currently around 7,000 medical cannabis card holders and, if flower does become eligible for legal sale, demand will certainly far exceed supply.
Another thing to consider will be cost. At present, Pennsylvania medical marijuana is on the pricey end, with a gram of wax concentrate costing up to $80. However, with more businesses dedicated to growing and processing slated to soon be open for operation, as well as the promise of more dispensary locations, the hope is that PA’s cannabis industry will be able to keep up with patient demand, especially if that comes to includes flower.
About Medical Marijuana In Pennsylvania
Despite medical cannabis being legal in PA, it’s still only prescribed for certain serious medical conditions — though advocates are hoping to soon expand on the list of ailments. Some of the medical conditions on the approved list include:
- Crohn’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
And, while some cities in Pennsylvania have decriminalized cannabis, it is still illegal recreationally across the state due to the federal ruling of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance.